It’s finally happening. In the wake of the Pro-Trump riots in Washington, D.C., last week, Republican lawmakers and luminaries are determining that maintaining support for Donald Trump is more costly to their careers, financial well-being, and country club standing than not supporting him.
It only took an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and an attempted coup to convince them.
In the week since the Trump-instigated Insurrection of Jan. 6 — whose participants overwhelmed police, breached and ransacked the Capitol building, terrorized congressional members and staff, and caused at least five deaths and dozens of injuries — Republicans have been peeling off from Trump one by one. Early in the week, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Republican leader, told his members that — though he believed the president was responsible for the violence, he would prefer a House censure — he would not lobby or pressure them to oppose impeachment. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), third-highest ranking GOP House member, announced along with five other representatives from her caucus that she would vote in favor of impeachment.
And Wednesday they did.
President Donald J. Trump was impeached by the House Jan. 13 for the high crime and misdemeanor of “inciting an insurrection.” The vote was 232-197, with 10 Republicans ultimately siding with Democrats to impeach. Here are some notable points:
— Mr. Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.
— Mr. Trump has been the subject of half of all U.S. presidential impeachments (two of four).
— Mr. Trump’s second presidential impeachment was the most bipartisan in U.S. history.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has determined that he will not reconvene the Senate early (it currently is in recess). But here is the good news:
— McConnell has blessed the House’s impeachment and has floated the possibility that he might vote to convict at the Senate trial (giving tacit permission for other GOP senators to follow).
— The Senate is scheduled to come back Jan. 19 anyway, only six days after the House impeachment.
— Democrats will control the Senate starting Jan. 20, which will ensure fairness and efficacy.
— Though Trump remains in office until his term ends in six days, it’s believed the threat of Senate conviction will encourage him to stay on his best behavior.
Why hold a Senate trial after the president is already out of office?
— Accountability, accountability, accountability. All future presidents must know there will be severe consequences for illegal Trumpian behavior. Citizens must see that Congress truly believes “no man is above the law.”
— Did I mention accountability? A conviction likely will lead to barring Trump from holding public office ever again (you’d think this would be a relief to aspiring 2024 GOP presidential candidates, of which there are many in the Senate). It also would strip him of his lifetime pension, secret service protection, and generous travel allowance.
— Even with an acquittal, it’s important to get all senators on record, as we now have in the House: Who supports democracy and who supports autocracy?
In a miraculous cognitive awakening, many more Republicans now are admitting that, yes, Joe Biden did beat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, (mostly) fair and square, with assorted caveats. Remember that believing President Trump’s big lie — that the election was stolen from him by massive deep-state voting fraud — is what prompted MAGA Nation, including seven distinct white supremacy groups, to commit 20-year felonies by planning and attempting to take over Congress.
The dam incurred a major crack Tuesday, Jan. 12, when all-powerful Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) let leak (and he never leaks) that he may support impeachment:
“Senator Mitch McConnell has concluded that President Trump committed impeachable offenses [suborning insurrection] and believes that Democrats’ move to impeach him will make it easier to purge Mr. Trump from the party, according to people familiar with Mr. McConnell’s thinking. The private assessment of Mr. McConnell, the most powerful Republican in Congress, emerged on the eve of a House vote to formally charge Mr. Trump with inciting violence against the country for his role in whipping up a mob of his supporters who stormed the Capitol while lawmakers met to formalize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.”
(Martin, Jonathan & Haberman, Maggie & Fandos, Nicholas; “McConnell Privately Backs Impeachment as House Moves to Charge Trump”; The New York Times; 1/12/2021.)
This move by McConnell, which could grow more committal amid the surging river of anti-Trump sentiment, gives GOP senators permission to break from the president and vote to convict when the House’s one article of impeachment reaches their body. It’s an open question whether there will be enough of them to convict (17 are needed if the Senate has perfect attendance on the day of the vote).
At least three Republican senators already have called for President Trump to resign. Senate staffers have said anonymously that they believe possibly 20 GOP senators might ultimately support impeachment conviction.
I’m Sorry, but Liberals Were Right all Along
“Boy, do I hate being right all the time.”
(Dr. Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum; Spielberg, Steven: director; Crichton, Michael: writer; Jurassic Park [motion picture]; 1993.) (spoken at the first sighting of a dangerous escaped cloned dinosaur — the colossally huge and terrifying T. Rex that had breached the confines of its dinosaur zoo “cage” — about to wreak havoc and death upon its island habitat; Malcolm had warned against toying with nature)
As I was researching this quote from the 1993 movie Jurassic Park to get the citation correct, I discovered that citing it is not as novel as I thought it would be. Turns out there are T-shirts, coffee cups, golf tees, video games, clubs, organizations, and even museums associated with or eponymously named for “Boy, do I hate being right all the time.”
Nevertheless, “Boy, do I hate being right” (even if not all the time).
I take no I-told-you-so comfort in the death and destruction caused by a President Trump. But I respectfully welcome the end of the “American carnage.” I’m proud of myself and the many other liberals who have been sounding the alarm since Donald descended the escalator at Trump Tower amid the cheers of mostly paid actors to announce his candidacy for president.
There are, and will be many more, volumes written on the early Trumpian red flags of white supremacy and authoritarianism. Examples of his corruption, incompetence, and amorality occurred multiple times daily. Donald consistently showed us he was always capable of a new nadir, that he had no bottom.
And in my optimistic naiveté, at every frequent peak of perversion and debauchery since his campaign began, I thought surely the time is now: Maintaining support for Donald Trump is more costly to Republicans’ careers, financial well-being, and country club standing than not supporting him.
I was consistently wrong.
Even Current Supporters Knew Early On
“Before they were sycophants, they were psychics.”
(Keilar, Brianna, cable news anchor; CNN’s Newsroom; 1/11/2021.)
CNN’s Brianna Keilar was referring to people like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former [Trump] U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R-S.C.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), former [Trump] energy secretary Rick Perry (R-Texas), and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who all sounded our same liberal alarm before Mr. Trump won the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
For her show, Newsroom, last Monday, Ms. Keilar put together a greatest-hits montage of the above-mentioned prominent Republicans’ 2015-2016 pre-nomination quotes blasting warnings that a President Trump would be a disaster and a danger. I’ve posted many of these before, but here are some nuggets: Lindsey Graham called Mr. Trump a “kook” and “unfit for office”; Ted Cruz said, “Nominating Donald Trump would be a train wreck” and “He’s a pathological liar.”
All politicians are concerned about their careers. But only Republicans, as a group, ate their words, shed all integrity, and became blind to depravity and ineptitude after Donald Trump took over their party and the White House. By taking over their party, I mean he demagogued his way to attaining an ironclad base of voting support that became completely immune to truth and reason. Trump lied to them daily, hourly, and he was an expert.
Note that one can only be a constant expert liar, a professional fabulist, through corruption and total forfeiture of integrity. For (almost all) Republican lawmakers that knew better, it took that same forfeiture of integrity to ignore, excuse, and support the universe of mendacity and outrageous action.
Why did Republicans allow the most heinous of presidents and presidential behavior to flourish unchecked? Because they determined that maintaining support for Donald Trump was less costly to their careers, financial well-being, and country club status than standing up to him.
Ultimately, any single crack in support, no matter how obsequiously sycophantic that Republican might have been up until that moment, could have doomed that guy’s future. That’s because Donald Trump had attained the unquestioned power and backing to threaten to “primary” any GOP officeholder he chose to. That is, he could muster his supporters to support that officeholder’s further-to-the-Trumpian-right opponent in his or her next primary election. Whether an elected official or not, a simple series of tweet-attacks could have ostracized that guy from the pack.
And he followed through with that powerful threat several times (think run-out-of-office Republicans Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Mark Sanford, et al.), which kept the rest in line.
You Were Warned: Adam Schiff Tried to Tell You
President Trump was impeached once before, beginning December 2019, but ultimately acquitted in the Senate. He had tried to extort a U.S. ally, Ukraine, for dirt on Joe Biden (Trump’s likely 2020 presidential opponent) in exchange for desperately needed foreign aid. House lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff was downright clairvoyant in his closing arguments:
“We must say enough — enough! He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again. He has compromised our elections, and he will do so again. You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. He is who he is. Truth matters little to him. What’s right matters even less, and decency matters not at all.
“Can we be confident that he will not continue to try to cheat in [the 2020] election? … The short, plain, sad, incontestable answer is no, you can’t. You can’t trust this president to do the right thing. Not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country. You just can’t. He will not change and you know it.
“What are the odds if left in office that he will continue trying to cheat? I will tell you: 100 percent. A man without character or ethical compass will never find his way.”
(Schiff, Adam, D-Calif., lead House impeachment manager, House Intelligence Committee chair; closing arguments, President Donald J. Trump first Senate impeachment trial; U.S. Capitol; 2/3/2020.)
“Boy, do I hate being right all the time.”
And Here We Are
It’s finally happening. In the wake of the Pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building Jan. 6, Republican lawmakers and luminaries are determining that maintaining support for Donald Trump is more costly to their careers, financial well-being, and country club standing than not supporting him.
Too bad, the good of the country had so little to do with their reevaluation.
As many pundits and historians have said, Trumpism is bigger than Trump, and its roots in white supremacy and misplaced grievance run deep. Why didn’t his party stand up to him? More importantly, how do we avoid electing future corrupt, incompetent, amoral aspiring autocrats?
A K-12 critical thinking curriculum. ■
02/06/2020 — U.S.: 1 | World: 620
12/31/2020 — U.S.: 342,414 | World: 1,807,866
01/14/2021 — U.S.: 384,784 | World: 1,980,885
Conservatively estimated Trump malfeasance deaths: 192,392 (50% of total U.S. deaths)*
The United States accounts for 4.2% of Earth’s population, 18% of world COVID-19 deaths.*
“PANDEMIC: New 1-Day U.S. Record: Deaths (4,000+); Post-Holiday Surge Setting In” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Much Light Shined on Policing Double Standard: Easy on MAGA Rioters, Hard on BLM” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Capitol Police Chief Was Denied Nat’l Guard Backup by Pentagon’s Army Secretary Shortly After Capitol Breach Began; Only 3 Hrs. Later Was Guard Allowed to Deploy Riot Response” (1/7/2021)
“REMOVAL: Longtime Trump Supporting WSJ (Rupert Murdoch) Calls for Trump Resignation” (1/7/2021)
“REMOVAL: Speaker Pelosi, Senate’s Schumer: Remove Trump by 25th Amend. or Impeach” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Education Secy. Betsy DeVos, Transportation Secy. Elaine Chao (Spouse of Mitch McConnell) Resign Citing Pro-Trump Riots at Capitol” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Resignations: House, Senate Sergeants-at-Arms, Wash., D.C., Chief of Police” (1/7/2021)
“REMOVAL: At Least 3 GOP Governors Call for Trump to Resign” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) Says DOD Denied Authorization to His National Guard, to Defend Capitol, for 1.5 Hours After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Team Called Him for Help” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Bombs at RNC, DNC Disarmed Jan. 6; Likely Planned to Distract Police From Capitol” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Bomb Threats, Ominous Protests, Evacuations at Half Dozen State Houses Jan. 6” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Instigator of E- C- Objections, Called on to Resign by 2 Hometown Newspapers; Simon & Schuster Cancel His Book Deal” (1/7/2021)
“RIOT: 1 Capitol Police Officer Confirmed Dead, Beaten by Rioters; Many Other Injuries” (1/8/2021)
“REMOVAL: 200+ Lawmakers Call for Trump Resignation or Removal” (1/8/2021)
“RIOT: 10+ Administration Officials Have Resigned” (1/8/2021)
“ELECTION: Trump Tweet-Announces He Won’t Attend Inauguration; VP Pence Expected To” (1/8/2021)
“REMOVAL: House Spkr. Pelosi to Begin Impeachment if Trump Doesn’t Resign Immediately” (1/8/2021)
“RIOT: Rioters Had Guns, Molotov Cocktails, Zip Ties (for Handcuffs), High-Powered Mace” (1/8/2021)
“RIOT: Accusations, Evidence Grow of Inside Help, Directions to Rioters by GOP Lawmakers” (1/8/2021)
“REMOVAL: House Spkr. Pelosi Talked w/ JCOS to Prevent Trump From Using Nuclear Codes” (1/8/2021)
“REMOVAL: 1st GOP Sen., Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Calls on Trump to Resign” (1/8/2021)
“RIOT: TWITTER BANS TRUMP PERMANENTLY” (1/8/2021)
“ELECTION: Trump Made Illegal Call to Ga. Elections Investigator Dec. 23: ‘Find fraud’” (1/9/2021)
“RIOT: Pro-Trump Social Network Parlor Decapitated by Tech Big 3, Future in Doubt” (1/9/2021)
“ELECTION: White House Installed Pro-Trump Ga. U.S. Attorney Specifically to ‘find fraud’” (1/9/2021)
“REMOVAL: Poll: 56% of Americans Say Trump Should Be Removed From Office” (1/10/2021)
“RIOT: GOP Lawmakers Largely Silent on Trump Insurrection; 3 Have Called for Resignation” (1/10/2021)
“RIOT: Trump, VP Mike Pence Have Not Spoken Since Jan. 6 Riots; Pence Said to Be Furious” (1/10/2021)
“RIOT: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) Reports Trump Gleefully Watched Riots, Capitol Breach on TV, Couldn’t Understand Why White House Aides in Room Weren’t as Positively Excited as He Was” (1/10/2021)
“RIOT: 3 Cabinet Members Have Quit Since Jan. 6 Insurrection” (1/11/2021)
“RIOT: 7 DIFFERENT WHITE SUPREMACIST GROUPS COORDINATED, CARRIED OUT ATTACK” (1/11/2021)
“RIOT: FBI Expecting Possibly Dangerous Jan. 20 Inaug. Day Protests at all 50 State Capitols” (1/11/2021)
“RIOT: Trump’s Only 2 Banks, Deutsche, Signature, Cut Ties w/ Trump Org., Close Accounts” (1/11/2021)
“RIOT: 12+ Major U.S. Firms Stop Donations to GOP Lawmakers Who Opposed E- C- Count” (1/11/2021)
“ELECTION: Democrats Introduce 1 Impeachment Article in House, Will Proceed if VP Pence Doesn’t Invoke 25th Amendment by Wed.; Democrats Have at Least 218 Votes (Majority) to Pass” (1/11/2021)
“RIOT: Twitter Purged 70K+ QAnon-Related Accts., Many Trump Work-Around Accts.” (1/11/2021)
“NFL’s New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick Declines Trump Pres. Medal of Freedom” (1/11/2021)
“RIOT: Trump Spoke to Reporters for 1st Time Since Riots: Defiant, Takes No Responsibility” (1/12/2021)
“REMOVAL: SENATE LEADER MCCONNELL (R-KY) LEAKS THAT IMPEACHMENT IS POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT IN EXCISING TRUMP FROM GOP; HOUSE GOP LEADER MCCARTHY WANTS LESSER PUNISHMENT OF CENSURE BUT WILL NOT LOBBY HIS CAUCUS AGAINST IMPEACHMENT” (1/12/2021)
“RIOT: 3 Reps. Contract COVID While Hiding in Closed Room w/ GOP Reps. Refusing Masks” (1/12/2021)
“REMOVAL: VP Mike Pence Announces Refusal to Invoke 25th Amend. to Remove Trump” (1/12/2021)
“REMOVAL: At Least 4 GOP Reps. Announce Intention to Vote for Impeachment” (1/12/2021)
“REMOVAL: Aides Say 20-Some GOP Senators May Be Privately Ready to Vote to Convict” (1/12/2021)
“RIOT: NYC Cancels Trump Org. Contracts Worth $17M to Run 4 City Facilities” (1/13/2021)
“REMOVAL: 6 GOP House Members Have Announced They Will Vote for Impeachment” (1/13/2021)
“REMOVAL: HOUSE IMPEACHES TRUMP, 232-197: ‘INCITING INSURRECTION’; 10 GOP REPS. VOTE YES, MOST BIPARTISAN IMPEACHMENT IN U.S. HX.; TRUMP 1ST PRES. TO BE IMPEACHED 2X” (1/13/2021)
“Fmr. Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) Charged w/ ‘willful neglect of duty’ in Flint Water Crisis” (1/13/2021)
“RIOT: Reportedly, Several GOP Reps. Gave ‘reconnaissance’ Tours to Rioters Day Before Riots; These Were Outside Normal Current Rules: No Tours, No Visitors During COVID-19 Guidelines” (1/13/2021)
“RIOT: Trump Releases ‘No violence, please’ Video Under Pressure From Lawyers, Aides” (1/13/2021)
“REMOVAL: Senate Leader McConnell Will Not Call Senate Back Early for Impeachment Trial; Trial Will Begin After Trump out of Office; Threat of Conviction Could Keep Trump on Good Behavior” (1/13/2021)
“PANDEMIC: U.S. Has 4.2% of World Population, 19% of World COVID-19 Deaths” (1/14/2021)
“PANDEMIC: U.S./World: 23.1M/92.5M Cases; 384.8K/2.0M Deaths; 7:14 a.m. ET” (1/14/2021)
*(Redlener, Irwin, MD, Columbia University National Center for Disaster Preparedness director; MSNBC’s Deadline: White House; 10/1/2020.) (Gupta, Vin, MD, MPA, MSc, University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation professor, global health policy expert; “Dr. Vin Gupta: 70% of Lives Could Have Been Saved if Trump Acted on COVID-19 Earlier”; MSNBC.com; 9/23/2020.) (Glanz, James & Robertson, Campbell; “Lockdown Delays Cost at Least 36,000 Lives, [Columbia University] Data Show”; The New York Times; 5/20/2020.) (as conservatively extrapolated from COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University; 1/14/2021.)
Trump Corruption Chronicles — We Must Never Forget
Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report — House Intelligence Committee
Trump-Ukraine Call, July 25, 2019 — Rough Transcript
Whistleblower Complaint — Regarding Trump-Ukraine
Mueller Report — Intros and Executive Summaries
Mueller Report — Complete
Trump-Russia Timeline (Bill Moyers)