What can we take away from Trump’s pending impeachment acquittal by the U.S. Senate next Wednesday? That it was a foregone conclusion given the Republican majority? For sure. That it was a flawed indictment by Democrats? Perhaps. That politics—the raw calculus of survival—has overtaken allegiance to the Constitution? Woe to us all, FOR SURE!
How ironic that on a Friday, the last day of creation according to the Bible the Republican Party forever touts as a seminal element of the Founding Fathers’ thinking, Republican Senators voted to kill our constitutional republic. The so called “greatest deliberative body of the world” was too cowed and cowardly to hear what witnesses might reveal about their demigod Trump. Too much revelation to deliberate.
Acquittal was never really in doubt. We live in too polarized a political climate to have expected anything else given the number required (67) to convict. But to reject the plea to hear relevant witnesses, especially former national security advisor John Bolton who alleges Trump told him aid to Ukraine was tied to its investigation of Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the Republican controlled Senate enabled Americans and the rest of the world to witness the total capitulation of a once-proud political party to the whims and sleaziness of its leader. Truly astonishing.
And shameful. We are not a banana republic. We are much worse, for Republicans will still claim we are a vibrant democracy, even as Trump skewers congressional oversight by disposing checks and balances into the waste basket of history.
Trump has a history of ruining reputations. From Sean Spicer to Gary Cohen to generals Kelly, McMaster and Mattis, working for Trump has been a sure-fire way to get a reduction in rank for respect.
Republican senators have gone AWOL on their ethics and conscience. I’ll leave it to Susan B. Glasser of The New Yorker to pronounce judgment on their charade of objectivity, particularly by Lamar Alexander of Tennessee: https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/trump-impeachment-trial-the-senate-can-stop-pretending-now?utm_source=onsite-share&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=onsite-share&utm_brand=the-new-yorker.
Now, some may say talk of the fall of democracy is hyperbole. After all, we have an election in November. The people will get their chance to vote on Trump’s legitimacy and continuation as president.
Really? After we have witnessed Trump openly work to undermine our elections by soliciting foreign government interference, after he questioned the validity of the 2016 results before and after he won, after he has repeatedly lied on small and large matters, after his cult followers in the House and Senate have failed to hold him to the same standards of truth and transparency they demanded of his predecessors, after he has whipsawed any and all critics? An acquitted Trump will have no fear, no boundaries in his pursuit of a second term, or longer.
Time and again Republican senators Friday acknowledged Trump had been “inappropriate” in asking Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. But inappropriateness does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense, they argued.
How about the next best option, then? Will the Senate vote to censure Trump? That would be a face-saving vote for any senator looking to salvage his or her legacy. But don’t bet on it, as Trump, no doubt, would tar and feather any Republican who voted for censure.