Another unthinkable presidential scandal, another deserved impeachment trial and another spineless display by the Congressional representation of the Republican Party. Despite the series of events that happened in the public eye and the compelling case that the House prosecutors presented to the Senate, 43 Republican senators decided that they would once again choose party over country.
In both of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trials, the most of any American president, GOP senators railed against calling witnesses to testify. During the first trial in December 2019, when witnesses were allowed the narrative was set to be one of disparaging and haranguing those that either stepped forward willingly or were called upon. It turned out that those that did testify offered valuable insights into Trump’s attempted (illegal) dealmaking with Ukraine. This time around, many Republicans refused to consider witnesses and even threatened to filibuster anything the Democrats brought to the floor in the Senate, including desperately-needed COVID-19 relief. One would be hard-pressed to think of actions more morally bankrupt a party can do than insist on covering up the truth using the threat of legislative obstruction, especially in face of a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
To those Republicans that did vote for impeachment, the party turned around and attacked them without hesitation. The official state GOP parties of Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and Wyoming have all either condemned or censured those who voted yes, which includes two U.S. Senators and the House Republican Conference Chair, the third most powerful Republican in the House. For a party whose members currently see “cancel culture” as the number one issue in American at the moment, it seems awfully hypocritical to take such extreme canceling measures against those who are simply expressing their personal views.
Two weeks ago, I wrote that the Republican Party stood at a crossroads with this trial; their choice lay between a reversion to the traditional GOP platform of Mitt Romney and John McCain (which, to be clear, was unacceptable in its own right) and a continuation of the depraved spiraling down the path of bigotry, conspiracy and Trumpism as a whole. In their acquittal of Trump, the GOP again affirms their complete lack of spine and the embrace of those degenerate, and indeed, deplorable, values. Where will they find the bottom?