MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, has taken to calling the G.O.P. “the cop-killers caucus.” Harsh, yes, but it’s fair insofar as the likely acquittal of Trump will give a free pass to the primary instigator of the vicious riot that took the lives of a capitol policeman, Brian Sicknick. Two others, Howard Liebengood and Jeffery Smith dies by suicide in the wake of the riot.
So much for the “Blue Lives mattter” mantra of Republicans who profess to be champions of the police who risk their lives to protect the public — and members of congress.
Every Republican Senator knows Trump instigated the treasonous riot at the capitol. Every Repubican knows that the riot would not have happened and the seven lives would not have been lost without Trump’s agitation. Yet, if more than 10 of 50 Republican Senators vote to hold Trump accountable, it will be a surprise.
The impeachment managers did an outstanding job of presenting the case against Trump. As E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes, summing up their work:
Those who vote to acquit the former president will now own it all: The incendiary speech that made the nation’s capital a killing ground but also the months of incitement and lying that built up to the violence.
They will own the threats against elected officials who refused to cheat on Trump’s behalf, the attacks on Black voters in big cities, and the savage mendacity of his all-caps tweets. Voting to acquit will mean joining in Trump’s rejection of the democratic obligation to accept the outcome of a free election and in his declarations even before the voting began that this was a “rigged” and “stolen” contest.
Dionne adds that “Importantly, the managers showed how Trump’s criminality involved not just whipping up the shameful, quasi-fascist violence (although that alone would justify conviction) but also his attacks on the entire democratic process, an argument carried by Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif). “He had absolutely no support for his claims,” Swalwell said. “But that wasn’t the point. He wanted to make his base angrier and angrier. And to make them angry, he was willing to say anything.” Dionne concludes,
This is why we will owe a debt to the House impeachment managers for many years to come. They have created an indisputable record. They catalogued lie after lie about the election’s outcome. They laid out Trump’s long history of promoting political violence, including his praise, shortly before the attack on the Capitol, for Rudolph W. Giuliani, right after his lawyer had called for “trial by combat.”
The punditry says that fewer than 10 Republican Senators are likely to vote for Trump’s conviction. This will be an outrage, a sign that a once great party has surrendered to craven opportunism or, worse, brutal authoritarianism. But thanks to the work of the impeachment managers, the country will know how spineless the party has become.
The Democratic impeachment managers showed Americans that one party is doing its job with impressive thoroughness and commitment. Those Republicans who will vote to acquit will be placing a cynical bet that most voters either don’t care or will forget their cowardice and hypocrisy in time for the next election. The job of Democrats is to prove them wrong.