A majority of Republican Senators gave notice Tuesday their allegiance is to their party leader, not their country.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Republicans forced a vote calling for cancellation of the impending impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. Trump faces charges of spreading the lie the 2020 election was rigged; pressuring Georgia’s secretary of state to “find some votes” in order to overturn the election outcome, and inciting a riotous crowd on Jan. 6 that overtook the U.S. Capitol while Congress was in session, resulting in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer.
All but five of the Senate’s 50 Republicans voted for calling off the trial set to begin Feb. 9. None are debating the president’s guilt, but rather are maintaining, wrongly, that they can’t punish a president once he’s out of office.
Please note that when he was in the position to accept the articles of impeachment while Trump was still in office, then-Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell said he would do no such thing.
The only time in recent history that Republicans have been willing to give an impeachment trial its due was when a Democrat was in the hot seat. In 1998, the Republican-controlled House impeached President Bill Clinton for “high crimes and misdemeanors” for lying about an affair with a White House intern, and as such obstructed justice. In a bipartisan vote, the Senate found Clinton not guilty.
As for their willingness to give Trump a pass, it, sadly, speaks volumes. A lame-duck president should not be able to sow distrust in our democracy and expect to get off scot-free. Unfortunately, that’s the very message Republicans are sending.
REPUBLICANS, fearful their political futures depend on their support of Trump, are toeing the line.
For those bold enough to say the former president is not above the law, it’s a gamble, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
“I guess it depends on what state you’re in and what phase in your career you are,” Graham said Wednesday.
Others report to a higher calling.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois voted to impeach Trump, though he admits it could be political suicide.
But the only way to govern, Kinzinger said, is to “accept the fact that you’re dead already,” taking a line from the war movie, “Band of Brothers.”
In other words, you can’t let the possible consequences deter you from doing the right thing.
Kinzinger said he adopted the mantra when he served as an Air Force National Guard pilot flying into enemy territory in Afghanistan and Iraq.
At 42, Kinzinger should be a rising star in the Republican Party. Instead, he’s being treated like an outcast. He already has an opponent for the 2022 race, whose campaign committee is called “Impeach Adam Kinzinger 2022.”
Kinzinger, however, sees Trump’s impeachment as a needed reckoning for the Republican Party as conservatives are rapidly losing ground to extremist forces.
“Leaders have got to start telling the truth,” he said, specifically calling out those who continue to question the validity of the election and condone violence.
Kinzinger also posits that if “inciting a deadly insurrection” in order to stop the counting of electoral college votes is not worthy of impeachment, “then what is an impeachable offense?”
THAT SEEMS to be a question most Republicans are unwilling to answer.
— Susan Lynn