One year ago, the U.S. Senate voted to acquit Donald Trump, who just a couple of weeks earlier had been the President of the United States. Three years from now, he could be that again, thanks to the Republicans who knew better but nonetheless let him off the hook.
The vote was 57-43 in favor of convicting Trump for inciting the Capitol riot, which was the citizen militia portion of Trump’s months-long attempted coup that had begun in earnest when he convinced tens of millions of Americans of the bald-faced lie that a massive, multi-state conspiracy of voter fraud had denied him re-election.
Seven Republicans crossed party lines to vote with every Democrat and independent to hold Trump accountable for his high crimes, and to bar him from ever holding office again—but the effort failed by 10 votes, short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict.
Following the verdict, quite a few senators delivered impassioned remarks on the trial, the failed coup, and the damage Trump’s Big Lie continued to inflict on basic democratic norms.
I watched most of them (for work, of course), but only one stood out for me at the time and continues to do so today. It was an impassioned, righteously furious, and enthralling speech.
“January 6th was a disgrace. American citizens attacked their own government. They used terrorism to try to stop a specific piece of democratic business they did not like.
Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the vice president,” the senator began.
“They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth—because he was angry he’d lost an election. Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty,” the senator continued, laying out just how insane the basic facts about the impeachment really were.
Then the senator made a no–bullshit and succinct case for conviction:
“There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of…