Senate Republicans fumbled the ball on yet another impeachment trial Saturday, this time regarding former President Donald Trump’s reported efforts to incite a riot at the U.S. Capitol. “As far as I’m concerned, he should’ve been charged with murder and treason,” MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart’s beloved Aunt Gloria said Sunday on the show. A video clip of her virtual interview went viral, and for good reason. In the interview, she called to task the 43 Republicans who clearly showed no intention to vote against Trump despite his attempted destruction of our democracy. Aunt Gloria said Republicans missed an opportunity to break away from Trump. “Now I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “Is he still gon lead the party? And what is he gon have his people do next?
Whatever the answers turn out to be to those questions, remember the 43 Republicans who voted to protect Trump no matter the costs to the country.
These senators had every opportunity to read a transcript of Trump’s words to his followers at a riot dubbed “Save America,” which was held just before the riot at the Capitol. “We will never give up,” he said at the rally. “We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about.” In a speech chock full of conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud, Trump directed the crowd to go to the Capitol.
“Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy,” the former president said. “After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down. We’re going to walk down, any one you want, but I think right here. We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
What followed was an insurrection that left Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick dead, reportedly hit with a fire extinguisher. More than a dozen other police officers were injured; three people died in medical emergencies; and one rioter was shot and killed when she attempted to breach the Capitol. “People need to make up their mind. Was this right?” Aunt Gloria asked. “And it was not right.”
President Joe Biden released his statement on Saturday:
“It was nearly two weeks ago that Jill and I paid our respects to Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who laid in honor in the Rotunda after losing his life protecting the Capitol from a riotous, violent mob on January 6, 2021.
Today, 57 Senators – including a record 7 Republicans – voted to find former President Trump guilty for inciting that deadly insurrection on our very democracy. The Senate vote followed the bipartisan vote to impeach him by the House of Representatives. While the final vote did not lead to a conviction, the substance of the charge is not in dispute. Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the violence unleashed on the Capitol.
Tonight, I am thinking about those who bravely stood guard that January day. I’m thinking about all those who lost their lives, all those whose lives were threatened, and all those who are still today living with terror they lived through that day. And I’m thinking of those who demonstrated the courage to protect the integrity of our democracy – Democrats and Republicans, election officials and judges, elected representatives and poll workers – before and after the election.
This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.
That is how we end this uncivil war and heal the very soul of our nation. That is the task ahead. And it’s a task we must undertake together. As the United States of America.”