After Donald J. Trump second impeachment trial, the Executive Committee, on behalf of the Republican Party of Louisiana, censured Senator Bill Cassidy. It did so, of all things, because Cassidy voted to convict the former GOP President. The LAGOP and other states' Republican parties have punished those who voted their conscience over the demands of GOP bosses.
The ultimate moral issue was whether Trump engaged in behaviors that so defaced the Office of the President that conviction would be necessary in protecting our constitution.
Getting to the point—the question really is this—did Donald Trump cause or contribute to the insurrection in our Capitol of January 6. Trump’s supporters insist his words did not incite. Others cite his acts leading up to, during and yes, even after his emotional speech. They claim the president for months had whipped his frustrated supporters into believing the existence of the greatest political crime in American history. That offense was Biden and the democrats stole the election. The House Managers emphasized that the president’s acts after the speech were continuous acts of inciting.
After the trial, in a moving speech, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed Trump for the insurrection and even pointed to possible criminal prosecutions and civil actions against his own party’s leader. McConnell opted not to convict claiming a technicality of no jurisdiction. Ironically, he caused the lack of jurisdiction by not allowing the House to try its case while Trump was still in the White House. But, folks, that’s another story.
So, let’s make this simple for those struggling to make sense of all this legalese jargon. To determine any presidential culpability, let’s assume Trump had nothing to do with the STOP THE STEAL audience presence in DC and surely had no role in marching to the capitol.
In this game, we’re going to eliminate all claims that he stoked the fire since November 4 and lit the match by his speech. Our focus is only his actions post-speech.
Borrowing from impeachment past--what did Trump do and when did he do it? Or, how about, what did President Trump do when he discovered that police were being clobbered, stabbed, and overrun? Even more particular, what did Trump do at the White House when our lawmakers and Vice President Pence fled the capitol chamber scene due to the screams of wild maniacs coming for their scalps?
Forget any foreseeability of violence. Ignore the mountain of social media urgings for a violent patriotic revolution. Disregard the knifings at the MAGA MARCH from December in DC. Sack the president's praise of his supporters intimidating a Biden bus on the Texas highway.
Our laser beam is only upon events that followed his speech. While he and the word were watching the carnage on the tube, what did he do?
The president went AWOL. Right in front of all of us, while the police lines broke down and while there were urgent repeated requests for military support, Trump ignored. Forty minutes after his speech, despite the bedlam and mayhem, he did manage to tweet the greatest hits of his incitement, um, sorry, his welcoming speech to the masses.
Meanwhile, others were frantic. Allies including Chris Christie started to go on national TV pleading for him to take immediate action. Roughly one hour after his speech, the mob breached the capitol building and Vice President was suddenly removed from the Chamber. The Senate shut down. Lawmakers and staff took cover. Many in the crowd started to yell “Hang Mike Pence” since word had gotten out that the Vice President refused to do Trump’s bidding. He was not going to violate his own oath and ignore the 80 million-plus votes already officially certified by the states. Or, let’s look at it this way. He was following the original intent of the framers, not some make-shift construction of the US Constitution.
Within nine minutes of the Senate’s departure, Trump unleashed an amazing tweet. In effect, he targeted Pence labelling his as a traitorous coward. Ouch!! During this moment, the world, and presumably Trump himself, knew that the uber-loyal VP (and most everybody else not wearing a confederate flag or MAGA hat) were at serious risk. Chilling video presented at the trial revealed at least one guy with a megaphone reading Trump’s angry Pence damnation word for word. What resulted were choruses of insurrectionists shouting hang Pence.
Two minutes later, after the president mistakenly called Utah Senator Mike Lee, US Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama took the call. Tuberville told the media that he told Trump that Pence had been suddenly carted off, and frankly, the Senator just could not speak at the moment. Tuberville later quipped that he thinks he is the only person who has ever hung up on the Commander In Chief.
Meanwhile, numerous allies and reportedly even Ivanka herself tried to convince Presidential Daddy to act. Trump refused.
Finally, Trump took decisive action. Over a full one-and-a-half hours after his speech ended, Trump tweeted that the crowd should remain peaceful. A half hour later, he followed that up with another similar tweet. Stay peaceful? He probably would have better luck telling a black man to stay white.
If the tweet targeting Pence, was not sufficient in showing that our commander in chief was dangerous, other documented evidence should put any doubt to rest.
Even powerful Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy failed to convince Trump to take action. During a phone call, McCarthy rebuffed Trump's assertions that the mob was Antifa and said it was Trump’s people who were rioting. Trump snapped at McCarthy stating those at the Capitol must have more concern about the past election than did McCarthy.
As evidence of that event, McCarthy later said in public “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters and that Trump was to blame. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
Over two hours after Trump’s speech, and only after a couple of hours of bloodshed, anarchy, death, and destruction, did he tweet out a video requesting his followers to go home but with his love and admiration were intact. He said he understood their anger. This was a video sealed with a kiss.
Let us now compare. During the riots of the BLM summer, a different Trump spoke, not the “kinder, gentler” of January 6 but one who demanded in bold capped tweets LAW AND ORDER. You recall how he insinuated shooting the mob. You recall how he used the federal forces to separate the forces like Moses parting the Red Sea. All of this so he could hold up a Bible in front of the church he never visited. The purpose was sending a sign to voters that God, power and Trump dominate, although not necessarily in that order.
Regardless of any incitement of his mob, once Trump completed his speech, his actions continued and the damage furthered. During those hours, he became the enemy of the state, the enemy of the police who fought heroically to stave off the attackers. By his refusals to act, he, in effect, aided and abetted the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers-- dangerous militant dudes who were at the center of the deadly activity. As the skies darkened, Trump tweeted that the insurrection should be a day to remember because as he seem to suggest, this is what happens when you steal an election.
Not once did he console the families of the dead and injured police. Nor did he try to reduce the lawmakers’ collective panic. Unlike this summer, when he made BLM and Antifa, enemy number one, Trump failed to cite any of the capitol marauders by name. Gee, wonder why?
At best, his actions during this American catastrophe revealed the violent revolt did not shock him or concern him enough to stop it immediately. At worse, his actions reveal something so much more hideous: President Trump was pleased with the results, did not want it to stop. His inaction and refusals to protect those at the capitol will forever enshrine him into the President Hall of Evil and Shame.
What the Louisiana Republican Party (and other Republican parties who punish those who question Trump’s authority ) did with the censuring is a total disgrace. In effect, they sided with a man who gave the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys cover, praise, and love.
By its censure, the LAGOP decided that Cassidy should be punished, even if, based upon the evidence, he felt it was his constitutional obligation to convict. The censure, in effect, symbolizes that it is verboten to blame the president for violating his oath, but it is proper to sanction a Senator- acting as a judge, for honoring his own.
I suspect Bill Cassidy knew how his party would treat him for his vote to convict. He and those risking the scorn of party leaders and contempt from party members, deserve deep admiration. They could have hidden like McConnell and claim lack of jurisdiction. Or, they could have manufactured some other defense. Those would have been easy to do. For their honesty and going against their own political self-interests, their profiles in courage should be honored.
In contrast, those demanding fealties are only furthering the bitter vindictiveness of the disgraced former president who took an oath to protect and to defend. Once again, for demanding complete servitude to a man, who in this case, put our officials and police at great personal risk, those party leaders share profiles of cowardice and of disgrace.