Last week, on the floor of the United States Senate, we were treated to a debate on whether politicians can say whatever they want before an angry mob, even “fight like hell,” and whether or not they can be removed from office after leaving office.
But instead, we should have answers about one’s specific directions in making those commands, and the serious dereliction of duty that day from the White House.
Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers were correct: politicians say “fight” all of the time. But what they don’t always do is name a specific target, for a specific time, to cause massive constitutional damage, with the false promise of giving 100 percent support for that action by personally joining in that fight.
Let’s say that a senator were to announce: “Tonight, go to [this congressman’s] house and fight like hell to stop him from stealing my reelection. And I’ll be right there with you.”
Would that senator bear any responsibility if any of his supporters showed up at the congressman’s house, did any property damage, or even killed someone? And what if one of the senator’s own supporters was shot by defensive fire from a person in the representative’s home, or by the police? That theoretical senator would certainly bear at least some culpability, right?
Now let’s say a future president learns an attack is imminent upon the U.S. Capitol.
Then he witnesses the terror attack on television, right before his eyes. Imaginer that this president doesn’t call a SWAT team, or fails to deploy the National Guard in defense, not just minutes, but even hours after the first Capitol breach, where police were being beaten or crushed.
Meanwhile the representatives chosen by Americans themselves flee for their lives, with no help from the man in charge of security, who opted to mock those who call for the taxpayer-funded relief force to come to their aid, mistakenly believing it’s his military, and not our country’s.
The cold lack of even an apology for the day’s events, even to say, “I made a mistake” or “I should have done better” would lead us to question Turner’s manhood in owning one’s actions, and his claims to Christian beliefs, and not just the lack of commitment to democratic ideals.
If Donald Trump had never run for president, and focused on his reality show, or business, or university, you would never ever say that future president should get off scot free.
But a combination of the messianic reverence some have for Trump, or the very abject fear that others have of his supporters led to his acquittal.
Possibly enough members to convict him admit that serious wrong was done, but dispute whether the impeachment was done too quickly, or not quickly enough, or whether it should be left to a criminal court instead, hoping to pass the buck.
At a minimum, perhaps the same legislative body that produced no less than 10 Congressional investigations of the attack on the Benghazi Consular Office might squeeze in a little time to look into the first sacking of the U.S. Capitol since the British torched it in 1814.
Even though no committee found former President Barack Obama, then-Secretary of State Clinton or any senior official responsible, then-U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) boasted back in 2015 that “everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable [sic]. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”
Hopefully, current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy can put aside politics this time to tell the truth of his own experience of what really happened on Jan. 6 during his exchange with Trump, as House Republicans who backed impeachment revealed these past weeks.
This column first ran in the Advance’s sister outlet, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, which is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek for questions: [email protected] Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.