- First, a photo of a grim-faced Josh Hawley, fist raised in solidarity with a mob of insurrectionists temporarily restrained by law enforcement outside the capitol building … followed by
- A video of the selfsame guy, the junior senator from Missouri, scurrying away through a corridor a short time later as the horde he had just emboldened swarmed inside.
It’s the perfect encapsulation of the cowardice of the Republican establishment.
We all know, do we not? … that the Republican party had two get-out-of-jail-free cards they could have played that would have allowed them to derail Trump’s political career, free the party and themselves individually from his self-serving domination, and, perhaps, get back to the business of governing … if they can figure out what the business of governing is.
The House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach, i.e., to specify charges, as detailed in Article 1 of the Constitution, but only the Senate can convict an officer (in this case, the president) on the charges brought in the House’s impeachment.
And here’s the most important result of such a conviction: “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.” (U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 3.)
In other words, if enough Senate Republicans (17, to be exact) had had the courage to vote for Trump’s conviction, the Senate could have barred him from holding office for the rest of his life. Voila! Freedom for all from the self-serving juvenile who has treated this country like his own personal gold-plated playpen.
The Republicans might have done well to remember the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin. Upon signing the Declaration of Independence, he reportedly said, “We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” A 100-0 vote in the Senate would have been about as clear a message as it’s possible to give. As it turned out, Trump’s still free to pursue what I hope is the impossible dream and, if not Trump, there are plenty of would-be pretenders waiting in the wings.