I just wanted to pass along the remarks of U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, closing the morning session of the impeachment trial today, which I thought were powerful.
As you know, if the Senate convicts former President Donald Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors, there will be a subsequent vote banning him from holding federal office in the future, which would foreclose him from running for president in 2024. That is actually the most concrete consequence Trump would face, if two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict him, and Raskin pitched his late morning remarks on that fact.
The testimony that had just concluded reviewed many previous instances in which Trump had promoted or winked at physical violence, including in the October 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to punish her for various measures taken to battle the COVID pandemic, which the plotters viewed as rampant socialism/totalitarianism.
Trump not only failed to condemn the plotters but, after the plot was foiled by federal officials (for which Trump took credit) he said of the kidnap plot, “Maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t,” adding, as an aside, of Whitmer at the time, “I don’t think she likes me too much.”
Raskin didn’t include those last details, only an overview of Trump’s lenient, jocular attitude toward the attempted kidnapping. So what? Then Raskin, the leader of the House team prosecuting Trump in the impeachment trial, linked the Whitmer incident to the more recent mob violence in Washington:
[Trump] knew [from the Whitmer incident] that his most hardcore supporters were willing to direct violence at elected officials, indeed, to attack and lay siege to a Capitol building (referring to the Michigan Capitol), and he knew they were ready to heed his call on January 6, to “Stop the Steal,” by using violence to block the peaceful transfer of power in the United States.
He knew they [the mob that attended his rally, then attacked the Capitol Building in Washington] would be ready to heed his call, on January 6, to “Stop the Steal,” by using violence to block the peaceful transfer of power in the United States. He knew they were coming. He brought them here. And he welcomed them with open arms. “We hear you. We love you” from the Oval Office.
My dear colleagues, is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he should be allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence get his way?
Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that?
Would you bet the safety of your family on it?
Would you bet the future of your democracy on it?
President Trump declared his conduct “‘totally appropriate.” So, if he gets back into office, and it happens again, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.