The Lessons of Impeachment
Not much Republican courage. And lots of demagoguery from Ron Johnson.
Despite a mountain of irrefutable evidence that Donald Trump was guilty of inciting an insurrection, the U.S. Senate acquitted him.
History will record this vote as a shameful abdication on the part of Republican senators. Only seven of them had the decency and the respect for our democracy to vote to convict: Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
This urgent message has now not been sent. That is the most tragic lesson of this impeachment trial.
Let us not divert our eyes from how grave the assault on our democracy was on Jan. 6, and from the character of that assault.
I don’t use the term “insurrection” to refer to what happened on Jan. 6. As my friend Allen Ruff has noted, “insurrection” is a value-neutral term. In our history, there were slave insurrections, for instance.
This wasn’t so much an insurrection as it was a putsch — a fascist coup attempt. We should not lose sight of the fact that this was a far right, white supremacist crowd that stormed the Capitol. The stormtroopers were flying the Confederate flag and using the “N” word and one was wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt.
Convicting Trump would have dealt a blow to this fascist movement in America. But now that movement will probably claim vindication and keep growing. That is the scariest lesson of this impeachment trial.
Just hours before the impeachment trial began, Johnson went on Fox News to try to blame Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of all people, even though the mob was trying to hunt her down on Jan. 6. Doing his Joe McCarthy imitation, Johnson said, of the impeachment trial: “Is this another diversionary operation? Is this meant to deflect away from potentially what the speaker knew and when she knew it? I don’t know, but I’m suspicious.”
And as the trial was drawing to a close, he went on Twitter to repeat this groundless and tangential accusation, writing: “There is much to be investigated + many questions unanswered regarding Capitol Hill security on 1/6. What did Speaker Pelosi know about security preparations?”
As to the merits of the impeachment case, Johnson was gullible as all get out. “The president’s lawyers blew the House manager case out of the water,” he said. “They legally eviscerated them.”
No one else, except maybe Sean Hannity, thought that.
Johnson also made a fool of himself on the floor of the Senate, on the last day of the trial, when he picked a fight with Romney over the vote to call witnesses. Reporters described Johnson as furious and quoted him as saying he would “blame” Romney for any negative fallout.
As the curtain fell on the impeachment trial, and the Senators raced off to their one-week vacations, they left us with a country still ripped apart by the dangerous demagogue who is in temporary exile in Mar-a-Lago and by the vile prejudices he exploited and fanned.
We’ve had the tragedy. Now it may return as farce – or, if we’re not careful, as something even more lethal to democracy.
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
- Back in the News: Bipartisan Bashing of Ron Johnson - Bruce Murphy - Feb 24th, 2021
- Senator Johnson Continues to Seek Answers About Capitol Breach, Sends Senate Leaders Unanswered Questions to be Addressed - U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson - Feb 23rd, 2021
- Wisconsin Democrats Issue Statement After Ron Johnson Spreads Lies on Behalf of Violent Insurrectionists in Senate Hearing - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Feb 23rd, 2021
- About Impeachment - U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson - Feb 18th, 2021
- Back in the News: The Hoax Master of Wisconsin - Bruce Murphy - Feb 17th, 2021
- Back in the News: Uline Faces Blowback on Capitol Riot - Bruce Murphy - Feb 15th, 2021
- Op Ed: The Lessons of Impeachment - Matt Rothschild - Feb 15th, 2021
- How The Republican Party Lost Control - Henry Redman - Feb 15th, 2021
- Wisconsin Democrats Issue Statement On Day One of Trump Impeachment Trial - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Feb 9th, 2021
- Back in the News: Ron Johnson’s Latest Conspiracy Theory - Bruce Murphy - Feb 8th, 2021
Read more about Chaos at the Capitol here