I’d love to ask 44 distinguished minority members of the U.S. Senate these questions:
After hearing the evidence that shows how much effort the former president put into changing the result of the election by repeatedly lying about winning; urging his followers to “fight like hell” to protect their country by keeping him in office; putting pressure on election officials, members of his administration and Congress; calling for his supporters to come to Washington at the same time Congress was meeting to certify the election; telling the crowd — some of whom had histories of violence and had discussed plans to storm the Capitol — to march to that very building, saying he would accompany them, it being his last chance to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election, do you think the president hoped or expected that he would keep his job because the angry crowd would arrive at the Capitol and “stop the steal” by peacefully protesting the transfer of power, or that they would do something more dramatic?
After hearing the evidence above, and knowing that the president watched the riot on television for hours while failing to intervene and failing to summon help, ignoring numerous pleas to do so, while wondering why other people at the White House weren’t as excited as he was; and that he eventually told the violent mob that they were “patriots” and “special people” whom he loved, after finally telling them to go home peacefully, but never once condemning the violence, do you think he should ever be allowed to become president again?
I don’t know how the 44 Republican senators who voted this week to stop the trial, based on an absurd reading of the Constitution, would answer these questions. I assume they’ll use that reading of the Constitution to say their hands are tied. They’ll claim the Constitution just won’t allow them to convict him and disqualify him from ever holding office again. That’s even though, after being exposed to all the evidence, they could accept the verdict of the Senate that the trial is perfectly appropriate or announce that they have reconsidered their earlier vote. They could do either of those things, because, yes, it’s so often easier to think the best of people rather than the worst.