The invasion of Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021 by Donald Trump’s supporters who rioted and left five people dead while foraging through the United States Congress called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Having not condemned the event, President Trump’s ultimate responsibility for what happened was beyond dispute. His subsequent impeachment by the US House of Representatives logically followed as night follows the day. His acquittal by the US Senate, however, is an egregious poke in the eye of democracy all over the world.
The 57 Ayes and 43 Nayes were 10 votes short of constitutional requirement for conviction, and, so, Donald Trump, like the proverbial cat with nine lives, escaped Senate conviction for the second time, being the only president in history to be twice impeached by the House of Representatives. A conviction would have ensured that Trump would never hold public office in the United States and deprive him of his pension.
The 43 Republican senators who voted for acquittal chose party above country and failed to even pretend to serve as impartial jurors as they took an oath to do. Indeed, many of them were absent in the chamber as the House impeachment managers piled up evidence upon damning evidence, delivering withering and irrefutable indictment of Trump. Indeed, men like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Lindsey Graham and a few other Trump apologists held consultations with Trump’s counsel during recesses, as if they were informal legal advisers to the Trump side. Those men had served as megaphones for Trump’s totally false claims of election rigging and fraud. Even after the insurrection, Cruz and Hawley subsequently voted to overturn the election. At the beginning of the trial, 45 Republicans voted against the trial by voting that the impeachment was unconstitutional. Thus, the acquittal had nothing to do with the guilt or otherwise of Trump. He began laying the groundwork for the big lie a year before the election, saying he could not possibly lose and that if he lost it must be due to rigging. After November 3, 2020, he began a sing-song that he had been cheated out in an election he clearly lost and managed to persuade his supporters to believe the falsehood. Since after the election he had tried to reverse the results through legal means but failed. He went through 62 different courts and eight of those courts were led by judges he personally appointed. Yet the courts, having not been shown any evidence of fraud, refused to rule in his favour. Even the US Supreme Court into which he appointed three justices refused to countenance his allegations.
Having exhausted legal options to overturn his opponent’s victory, Trump tried to get the states election officials to reverse the elections in his favour. The most sensational of such moves was his telephone call to the Secretary of State of the US state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, who was forced to reveal the contents of the phone call in which Trump threatened the official asking him to conjure up 11,780 votes to turn him into the winner in Georgia. State of Georgia has an option to bring criminal charges against Trump for illegal interference in the election.
Trump was, generally speaking, a kind of bad influence on American politics. Before his presidential run, he was distinguished for his racism. He introduced, nursed and propagated what came to be known as birtherism through which he attempted to delegitimise President Barack Obama on the manifestly false notion that he was not born in the United States.
And when he became president, Trump and his right-wing propagandists invented what they described as “alternative facts” which meant falsehood, untruths, and damned lies which became the hallmark of his presidency. The Washington Post documented 30,573 false and misleading statements within Trump’s four-year term as president. Thus his acquittal ignored the fact that his actions and body language invited the insurrectionists and gave them marching orders to invade the halls of Congress on the day the US Congress was ratifying the results of the election.