It was very satisfying to me to respond (@RAHarrington) to Senator Jim Inhofe’s tweet justifying why he voted Trump “not guilty.” Inhofe wrote, “My plain reading of Article II, Section IV of the Constitution led me to believe that the Founders did not intend for us to impeach and try former presidents.” I replied to him, “You are a traitor who thinks he can excuse his treason with a sleazy technicality.”
House Managers agree. In a press conference with Nancy Pelosi and the House Managers, Congressman and Impeachment Manager Ted Lieu put it this way, “The defendant Donald John Trump was let off on a technicality. And that’s essentially what you heard Mitch McConnell say.”
Nancy Pelosi summarized everything when she said by way of preamble that Mitch McConnell deliberately delayed convening the Senate trial until after Trump was out of office. He then had the brazen gall to use that very act as a spurious pretext to acquit Trump.
Metaphorically, McConnell crapped on our front porch then knocked on the front door and demanded toilet paper. Naturally, had the Senate trial of Trump taken place before January 20th, Senate Republicans would have found a different pretext to vote him not guilty. This technicality, that he was out of office and therefore he can’t be convicted, a technicality the vast majority of Constitutional scholars vehemently disagree with, was contrived to justify what they would have done anyway. That way (they think) they can blush before history and whimper that they wanted to convict him but their hands were tied.
Once again this is how Republican hypocrisy works. It’s transparent to anyone with a brain what they’re up to. Unfortunately, millions of Americans will believe it because they want to. Many Americans are unused to the plain truth.
The idea is a simple one. Those Republicans who were left afloat in the wake of the one-term Trump disaster want it both ways. They want the millions of drooling, rabid, disgusting cretins who worship Trump, and the middle-of-the-road Republicans who think they should have found Trump guilty. Republicans need both camps of voters to rebuild their power base so they can reclaim control of the House and Senate in 2022 and the White House in 2024. Very few of them give a damn if the White House is reclaimed by Trump or not.
Their lie going forward is that their hands were tied. It is the same species of lie, ironically, that was used to insist that a sitting president cannot be indicted during the Mueller investigation.
Hypocrisy can be dizzying. It is the tangled web of Sir Walter Scott’s poem. Republicans have an addiction to this kind of deceit, and they will never let go of it. This is why our fight (and yes, I’m going to use that word, Republicans not only don’t own the English language, they barely know how to use it) must continue. We have won the battle but the war still rages on. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.