The Second annual Presidential Impeachment Trial is well underway, and somehow the sequel is even more riveting than the first installment.
Gone are the nuanced ‘cloak-and-dagger’ days of exotic locales like Ukraine, Crimea and Quid Pro Quo. We’ve moved on to the unambiguous attack on our own Capitol by people wearing professionally made MAGA Civil War shirts with January 6, 2021, printed boldly in ink.
Seven dead Americans later, I think it’s safe to say that escalated quickly. Except it was months in the making.
Impeachment lawyers didn’t need to say much to prove their case. They just rolled out exhibit after exhibit of 45’s unhinged rants and orange-tinged tweets, spliced with never-before-seen footage of the mob bludgeoning Capitol police with Old Glory while their Trump Flags flew high. The gallows loomed outside, while inside chants of “Bring out Pence” reverberated off the marble. It was a scene way beyond those incriminating insurgent-selfies we saw the first few days after the attack.
That left Trump’s lawyers to argue that the mob on Jan. 6 was not controlled by Trump, so you can’t convict him. However, Senate Republicans seem to largely believe the opposite: the mob was and still is controlled by Trump— and they must acquit or face the wrath themselves.
For wisdom in these troubling times, we can look to native Muskogeean and recently-retired U.S. Congressman Francis Rooney, who served as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives from Naples, Florida, until just last month.
This week on national cable television, Rooney gave a clear-eyed view of the current state of the GOP. After saying he would vote to impeach Trump, he added, “I think it's impossible to argue, given the pre-election through January 6th, the concerted campaign to create the big lie that the election was stolen, which, by the way, all authoritarian rulers do the big lie thing. That's how they get away with what they do. That it wasn't unforeseeable. And if it's foreseeable, I think that people ought to be impeached for it.”
Rooney saw the Trump show first hand, and heard audio of his former colleagues pleading and tweeting for Trump to call off the mob in real time during the riot because, “the fact that they were asking him to stop it shows people must have thought he started it.”
Rooney called on other Republicans to publicly acknowledge what they all know privately: they must repudiate Trump. “We need more people to speak up and... call out the emperor and the clothes thing.”
Rooney also intimates the only way for the GOP to have a future is to put Trump in the rearview mirror: “First thing is just isolate him. Just don't give him a platform. You know, what did Churchill say about an appeaser? That he who feeds the crocodiles is hoping he'll get eaten last.”
I continue to hope our Oklahoma senators will decide to quit feeding the crocodiles. One just got re-elected in landslide. The other? Well, if in order to be re-elected in ‘22, he has to rely on the approval of insurrection sympathizers and a former leader who breaks the 9th commandment every time he opens his mouth — then maybe it’s time to re-examine a few things.
The world is watching.
Holly Rosser Miller has lived and worked in Muskogee for 20 years.