Trump’s legal professionals excused it and gave Republican senators their rationale for acquittal by speaking about free speech, however that solid the president of the US — essentially the most highly effective individual on this planet, entrusted with the safety of his nation — as simply any outdated crank spouting off. It minimized his station. It trivialized the stakes. It additionally neglected that it’s not OK to yell “hearth” in a crowded theater, although Consultant Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, reminded them of that, describing Jan. 6 as “a case the place the city hearth chief who’s paid to place out fires sends a mob to not yell ‘hearth!’ in a crowded theater however to really set the theater on hearth.”
The legal professionals additionally turned historical past on its head, primarily bookending Trump’s presidency by minting the exact kinds of “different info” that Kellyanne Conway smugly heralded in the beginning. “Not like the left, President Trump has been fully constant in his opposition to mob violence,” one among his legal professionals, Michael van der Veen, stated, scaling new summits of preposterousness. Trump blessed mob violence at his marketing campaign rallies. He blessed mob violence in Charlottesville, Va. He’s in opposition to mob violence the best way I’m in opposition to spaghetti carbonara. Which is to say that he thrills to it and eats it up.
Each earlier than and in the course of the Senate trial, Trump’s defenders asserted that there’s no clear causal hyperlink between his malfeasance and that police officer’s screams. However the Home Democrats successfully destroyed that argument by documenting not solely Trump’s phrases within the days, hours and minutes earlier than the mob attacked but in addition his lengthy, painstaking marketing campaign to erode belief in democratic processes, in order that if these processes didn’t favor him, his supporters have been primed to junk them. He’s a examine in slow-motion treason. Jan. 6 was merely when he slammed his foot down on the accelerator.
It was additionally, looking back, the climax that his presidency was at all times constructing towards, the inevitable fruit of his meticulous indoctrination of his base, his methodical degradation of American establishments, his romancing of right-wing media and his recruitment of essentially the most formidable and unscrupulous Republican lawmakers. At his behest, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and a number of other different Republican senators promoted the deadly falsehood that the election was fraudulent, but that didn’t disqualify them from sitting as jurors to render a foregone verdict on a person whose delusions they’d already endorsed. What a system. What a farce.
They have been distracted, cavalier jurors at that. Rick Scott, who in fact voted “not responsible,” was seen finding out after which fidgeting with a map or maps of Asia. Dare we dream that he’s plotting his personal relocation there? Hawley, who additionally voted “not responsible,” at one level moved to the guests gallery above the Senate flooring and did some studying there, his ft propped up, his lanky physique a pretzel of petulance. What occurred to Republicans’ respect for authority? What occurred to primary decency and decorum?
Clinton was a supposedly unendurable offense in opposition to that, however then alongside got here Trump, and Republicans determined that decency and decorum have been overrated. Fact, too. Heck, every thing that they claimed to face for within the Clinton years was now negotiable, expendable, vestigial. Nothing was past the pale.
However that footage was past the pale. Did you actually have a look at it, Senators Hawley, Scott and Cruz (one more “not responsible”)? Did you see the blood and the fear on that police officer’s face? Do you truthfully contend that there’s no connection between Trump’s lies — refined over years, repeated incessantly and rendered in essentially the most incendiary style potential — and the officer’s ache?