OPINION

Impeachment Was Nothing but Spectacle and Political Theater … Just Like It Designed To Be.

Last week was nothing short of a warning to Trump supporters and Republicans to get with the Democratic program—or else.

It was an event that occurred well outside of Washington, D.C., and far from the Senate floor where elected officials wrestled with the option of either acquitting or convicting former President Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial. In Philadelphia, that city of brotherly love, Trump lawyer William van der Veen’s home was vandalized by protesters (“peaceful” no doubt), who spray-painted the word “Traitor” on his driveway.

Impeachment was invoked a second time against former-President Trump because his opponents hate him…

Nothing could have better captured the reason for this impeachment charade. Impeachment was invoked a second time against former-President Trump because his opponents hate him, and they always will, no matter what he chooses to do with the rest of his life. And they will hate you, too, for ever having voted for Donald J. Trump, ever having supported him, or for ever daring to suggest his four years as president were marked by substantial accomplishments. The events of this past week was nothing short of a warning to Trump supporters and Republicans to get with the Democratic program—or else.

Fox News senior political correspondent Brit Hume noted this last Tuesday, when he told Fox News host Mark Steyn, “You cannot overstate the loathing in which the constituency of the Democratic Party holds Donald Trump, and from the first day of his presidency, the attitude of the Democrats has been to resist, and they followed through on that by going after him in any possible way—including now impeaching him twice.”

This was a point echoed by the Trump defense team, who also noted that the impeachment charade was nothing short of vengeance. Michael van der Veen said as much, February 12th, that the impeachment trial was an “an unjust and blatantly unconstitutional act of political vengeance.”

This was a political show trial that was only ever intended to succeed in one sense: to debase the political memory and legacy of Trump and to shame his supporters.

Impeachment.

Impeachment.

SPECTACLE AND POLITICAL THEATER

If you haven’t heard yet, the Senate voted on Saturday to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. Although this round of political theatrics lacked the antics of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who had dominated the last impeachment trial, Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial nonetheless contained similar moments of sheer madness.

“This was not just any old protest. President Trump was inciting something historic.” – Eric Swalwell

Instead, someone had the comical idea of appointing Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) as an impeachment manager. Here was the guy who had an alleged Chinese spy fundraising for him (and probably doing other things for him after hours, although Swalwell refused to confirm or deny the depths of that activity). Like all the other impeachment managers, Swalwell hammered https://www.foxnews.com/politics/live-updates-impeachment-trump-2-12-21home the point that Donald Trump is a horrible man who is very offensive in his talk and manners and, by the way, encouraged an insurrection.

Swalwell, who apparently doesn’t know the difference between “Calvary” (where Christ was crucified) and “calvary” (the mounted U.S. Army troops), confused the words when he read what he alleged was an incriminating tweet and suggested that, “This was not just any old protest. President Trump was inciting something historic. The cavalry was coming, and he was organized.”

After a while, you began to think that you must be watching a movie (granted, an excruciatingly boring one) because real life cannot be this absurd. This was a show trial in the tradition of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who never let the facts get in the way of setting people up for prosecution on the grounds that they were acolytes of Leon Trotsky or “wreckers” of Soviet industry. Facts? Stalin didn’t even bother to search for any evidence. And neither did the Democrats, apparently, who rammed impeachment through the House of Representatives almost entirely on hearsay, without even bothering to call any witnesses.

That’s why the trial had little to do with the article of impeachment that Trump was charged with: inciting an insurrection. Even when the Democratic impeachment managers played their carefully curated clips of President Trump speaking to that crowd on January 6th, they still couldn’t piece together a series of images or sounds that had the former President telling anyone to storm the Capitol or to try to take over the government.

The very notion is absurd. The hooligans who did eventually storm the Capitol were such an ungainly assortment of misfits that they served as an apt definition of “mob” demonstrating no strategy to capture the government. Despite the mainstream media constantly referring to the mob as “armed,” there wasn’t a firearm in sight and certainly nothing substantial enough to stage a coup d’état.

[T]hey did not offer so much as a smidgen of evidence that Trump had somehow willed this ugly spectacle into being…

Yet, on the opening day of the Senate trial, Democrats played a wide range of video footage from the so-called “insurrection,” knowing full well that the eyes of the world (and their media) were on them. They even offered segments that had not yet been seen by the public or most of the senators apparently, many of whom watched with rapt attention the scenes of incompetent goons recklessly stampeding through the Capitol building.

Sure, the Democrats did an admirable job of proving that there was a riot on January 6th. That was undeniable. But they did not offer so much as a smidgen of evidence that Trump had somehow willed this ugly spectacle into being as if by some Mephistophelian incantation. And even if the mob was conjured as such, Trump certainly wasn’t the one to say it.

That’s likely why they didn’t allow us to hear all that Trump did say at the rally, either. As Human Events publisher Will Chamberlain noted in a tweet, lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin’s (D-MD) video includes President Trump saying “we are going to walk down to the Capitol” while omitting his request for his supporters to “peacefully make their voices heard.”

Still, the Democrats persisted, playing what amounted to Donald Trump’s Greatest Hits, showing video after video of the former President at rallies, encouraging his followers to “fight” or (heaven forbid) to be engaged in the political process in some form. They even raised that old specter of Trump allegedly suggesting that some neo-Nazis are “good people” as they played an edited clip of Trump speaking in the aftermath of the Charlottesville riot.

Throughout the Democrat’s well-produced video commentary, the former President can be heard telling his supporters to “fight” as if this was a signal for all the Manchurian Candidates in the room to go forth and conquer. This was supposed to be an education in just how Trump had programmed his supporters over the years of his presidency, to prepare them to execute perhaps the most incompetent and pathetic insurrection in the history of this government.

Jamie Raskin.

Jamie Raskin.

POLITICAL LANGUAGE CAN BE INSURRECTIONIST OR BRAVE … DEPENDING ON WHO SAYS IT

The playacting continued. Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD) may have broken down in tears on the opening day of the trial, but he consistently delivered his message over the next five days that Trump was an “existential threat” to America and couldn’t be allowed to ever run again for the presidency. He was so convinced of his case that even when his team of attack dogs had failed to convict the President, Raskin was (revealingly) calling the outcome a “dramatic success in historical terms” during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press the morning after. He pointed to the fact that seven Republicans had voted with the Democrats to convict.

[T]hey are more than familiar with the same political language, language that could be just as aggressive as that of the former President.

The Trump team responded the following day by releasing a video of various Democratic leaders—from the oleaginous Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to the caustic and often obnoxious Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)—telling their supporters to “fight.” It may have appeared like a segment from Fox News’ Hannity, Sean Hannity having played similar clips over the last month, but it was viscerally effective in highlighting both the anger and the hypocrisy of Democrats. (Those same Democrats who, instead of condemning this summer’s violence and destruction, chose to take a knee).

The point of the Trump team video, of course, was not to suggest that Democrats were seriously planning a violent takeover of the Trump administration, just that they are more than familiar with the same political language, language that could be just as aggressive as that of the former President.

“This is ordinary political rhetoric that is virtually indistinguishable from” language used that’s been by politicians for “hundreds of years,” van der Veen said, commenting on the clips of Democrats promising to fight for this or that issue. “Joe Biden’s campaign slogan was battle for the soul of America.”

The videos of Democrats speaking exactly like Trump did not convince Democrats, however. After viewing the clips, Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) clearly failed to get the point … at all. Instead, she raised an objection to the perceived racism in the presentation, suggesting (incredibly) that while it is questionable for white people to talk about a political fight, it is off-limits to criticize “people of color” when they talk about fighting alleged injustice. Plaskett’s words added a note of absurdity to an already ludicrous procedure that, while was to be anticipated when Democrats are in any room these days, remains nonetheless astoundingly stupid.

“The defense counsels put out a lot of videos in their defense, playing clip after clip of black women talking about fighting for a cause or an issue or a policy. It was not lost on me—so many of them were people of color and women. Black women, black women like myself who are sick and tired of being sick and tired for our children … I thought we were past that. I think maybe we’re not,” Plaskett concluded.

Reality check, Madam Congresswoman: this impeachment trial was not about the promotion of your political agenda (though you apparently will never miss an opportunity to do that). This was about whether a former president deserved to be impeached and forbidden from ever seeking that office again. This was about whether people who supported that president have the right to be recognized as political actors and rightful citizens of America, and not subject to the irrational opprobrium unleashed on an imagined sub-caste in society.

Michael van der Veen.

Michael van der Veen.

IMPEACHMENT WAS JUST ONE PIECE OF THE PLAN

But the strange became even more bizarre on February 13th, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, when Raskin rose to declare that the prosecution would like to call witnesses after Rep. Jaime Herrara Beutler (R-WA) said she had heard Trump make an approving remark about the riot to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

“What did Nancy Pelosi know?” – Former Acting Director of National Security Ric Grenell

Although five Republicans voted to approve witnesses, within a couple of hours, Raskin and the Democrats were in full-scale retreat from the idea. Why? Did the Republicans tell their opponents that the defense would also demand their share of witnesses, perhaps even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who, as usual, was sounding off in her self-righteous indignation throughout the process.

Former Acting Director of National Security Ric Grenell suggested that that was precisely what had transpired during an interview on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. “What did Nancy Pelosi know? Why did they back down from having her come in and testify? Why can’t we get to the details here? This whole thing was a political show,” he said. “So let’s take them up on it, and let’s get to the bottom of it.”

Indeed.

As the defense team pointed out, there is mounting evidence that the Capitol riot was not some spontaneous event triggered by Trump’s provocative speech. It was probably planned. As Grenell went on to suggest in that interview, Pelosi might not have known about intelligence indicating a riot was coming on January 6th because she failed to show up for her intelligence briefing.

That the Capitol riot might have been planned in advance of Trump’s January 6th speech was another nail in the Democratic coffin of impeachment. But is Trump’s acquittal a nail in the coffin of the persecution of a former President and the vilification of his followers? Probably not. As we have seen in our previous examinations of how the Democrats, the mainstream media, and Big Tech are demonizing Trump supporters and Republicans. Impeachment was just one piece of the plan.

This impeachment should never have happened. It had no basis in fact and should never have been applied to a former president. But the show trial nonetheless occurred, and the Democrats did their earnest best to portray, in a storm of hateful spite, that Trump and his people are not just deplorable; they are racist, neo-Nazis, and a threat to civil society. This was the message of this melodrama: they must be destroyed. This was a warning to voters to get in line and don’t disrupt the Democratic agenda.

But to borrow a phrase from Donald Trump—and from so many other politicians—Republicans can neither rest on their impeachment victory, nor rest easy that the nonsense will stop. They have to fight back. Not to unlawfully wrest control of the government from the tenacious Democratic claws, but to win the hearts and minds of the American people who know a con game when they see and understand it.

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David Krayden is the Ottawa Bureau Chief for the Daily Caller. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidKrayden.