Archives for category: Trump

Paul Waldman is on the staff of the Washington Post. In this excerpt of his column, he says that Trump zealots will refuse to believe what the police officers said about the events of January 6. Nor will Trump devotees in the Congress be moved. The police officers saved their lives on that day, but they won’t heed what they testified. The Republican members of Congress were there as rioters plundered the U.S. Capitol and threatened the lives of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence. Only a thin blue line separated the mob and the esteemed members of Congress, who were only a few feet apart as they scurried to their hiding places. Yet still they say things like, “It was a normal tourist crowd,” or “it was a peaceful protest.” And they have response when Trump expresses his admiration and love for the mob that beat up police officers, shattered windows, and broke down doors in their absurd effort to reverse the election results.

Waldman writes:

There are people who believe that the moon landing never happened, that the astronauts in the footage all the world saw were actually bouncing around on a soundstage hidden away somewhere. But they aren’t making our laws, they aren’t invited on TV to discuss their perspective, and they don’t have the ability to influence millions.


Yet there are people who deny the truth of what happened in Washington on Jan. 6, despite all the video, all the contemporaneous reports, all the guilty pleas, and all the testimony. And they have a lot more power.


Tuesday’s first hearing of the select House committee investigating the insurrection, with vivid testimony from four police officers who stood against a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters overrunning the Capitol in an attempt to overturn a presidential election, should put at least some questions about that day to rest.

Still recovering from their physical and mental injuries, the officers seemed particularly incensed that the truth of what happened that day is denied by so many on the right, from Trump himself on down.
“To me, it’s insulting, just demoralizing because of everything that we did to prevent everyone in the Capitol from getting hurt,” said Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell about the effort to minimize what happened that day, including by Trump. (“It was a loving crowd,” the former president told Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, “There was a lot of love. I’ve heard that from everybody.”)

Gonnell also addressed the various conspiracy theories propagated by some very high-profile figures on the right, claiming that the insurrection might have been a false-flag operation. “It was not antifa,” he said. “It was not Black Lives Matter. It was not the FBI. It was his supporters that he sent them over to the Capitol that day.”
“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” said D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, slamming his fist on the table. “Nothing, truly nothing, has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day.”

That denial takes various forms. Some, like Trump, assert that the riot was no big deal (“By and large it was peaceful protest,” said Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin). Others say that, while it was certainly bad, it doesn’t have anything to do with any larger political forces and should be put behind us.

But the truth is that there was nothing isolated about the event. Those rioters came to Washington at Trump’s behest. They assaulted the seat of our government in an effort to prevent the final certification of an American presidential election. And to this day, most of the GOP continues to stoke the fires of racial resentment and contempt for the democracy that made it possible.

One of the few exceptions in the Republican Party, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) dispatched the bad-faith argument so many in his party made that any investigation of Jan. 6 should also spend time talking about protests last summer against police misconduct, during which violence broke out:

“Some have concocted a counternarrative to discredit this process on the grounds that we didn’t launch a similar investigation into the urban riots and looting last summer. Mr. Chairman, I was called on to serve during the summer riots as an Air National Guardsman. I condemn those riots and the destruction of property that resulted. But not once did I ever feel that the future of self-governance was threatened like I did on January 6. There is a difference between breaking the law and rejecting the rule of law, between a crime, even grave crimes, and a coup.


That is the heart of what made January 6 so threatening: Not just the physical violence, but the assault on the American system.

The hearings about the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol opened with testimony by four police officers who were beaten and brutalized by the pro-Trump mob, trying to stop the certification of the election of President Biden.

This story appeared in USA Today.

The officers’ accounts provided a dramatic opening for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, when Trump’s fanatical supporters tried to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.

“Here are highlights from their testimony.

“Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell

“An Army veteran, Gonell said his experience during the insurrection was more terrifying than serving in Iraq, where he had to conduct supply missions on roads laced with improvised explosive devices.

“Nothing in my experience in the Army or as a law enforcement officer prepared me for what we confronted on Jan. 6,” he told the panel, recounting hand-to-hand combat with the rioters that likened to a “medieval” battle.

“I did not recognize my fellow citizens,” Gonell said. One rioter, he said, “shouted that I —an Army veteran and a police officer — should be executed.”

“As he and his fellow officers were punched, kicked and sprayed with chemicals, “I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, ‘This is how I’m going to die’,” Gonell said.

“Six months after the riot, Gonell said he is still recovering from injuries.”

DC Metro officer Michael Fanone

Fanone, who nearly died on Jan. 6, has emerged as one of the most outspoken enforcement officials in the wake of the Capitol riot, during which he was beaten unconscious and suffered a heart attack.

In the months since Jan. 6, he has lobbied Congress to create a bipartisan, independent commission to probe the riot and lashed Republicans for downplaying the attack.

At Tuesday’s hearing, he moved into the spotlight once again.

“As I was swarmed by a violent mob, they ripped off my badge, they grabbed and stripped me of my radio, they seized a munition that was secured to my body,” Fanone recalled. “They began to beat me with their fists and what felt like hard metal objects.”

At one point during the riot, Fanone was pulled from a line of police by a rioter who shouted “I got one!”

As he was beaten, he heard a rioter shout to “Get his gun! Kill him with his own weapon.”

” … I was electrocuted again and again and again with a taser. I’m sure I was screaming but I don’t think I could even hear my own voice,” he recounted.

“I have kids,” he responded in a plea for his life.

“I still hear those words in my head today,” Fanone told lawmakers.

An unconscious Fanone was later driven by another injured officer to a nearby hospital, where he was told he suffered a heart attack and multiple life-threatening injuries. He now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I thought I had seen it all, many times over,” Fanone said. “Yet what I witnessed and experience on Jan. 6, 2021, was unlike anything I had ever seen, anything I had ever experienced or could have imagined in my country.”

U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn recounted how pro-Trump protestors continued to swell at the side of the Capitol all morning on Jan. 6 before becoming violent after thousands had assembled.

Rioters chanted “Stop the steal!,” clinging to the false claim that Trump was still the true elected leader of the country. When Dunn said that he’d voted for Biden and inquired if his vote didn’t matter, the already hostile crowd became irate.

“One woman in a pink ‘MAGA’ shirt yelled, “You hear that, guys, this (N-word) voted for Joe Biden!” he remembered.

“No one had ever called me a (N-word) while wearing my Capitol Police uniform,” Dunn testified.

Dunn also recounted how the aftermath of the day had been a “blur” to him. At one point he broke down in despair in the Capitol rotunda and asked how the attack was even possible, he said.

In the months since the attack, Dunn has said he’s been in support groups for his mental health to deal with the trauma of the attack, declaring that “there’s absolutely nothing wrong” with seeking help. Two Capitol police officers have died by suicide in the months since the attack.

Dunn also directly addressed the rioters and insurrectionists who were at the Capitol that day, saying “democracy went on that night and still continues to this day… you all tried to disrupt democracy, and you all failed.”

DC Metro Police officer Daniel Hodges

Hodges said rioters bashed his head, kicked him in the chest, and sprayed him with a chemical irritant during the riot, among other assaults.

One attacker told him he would “die on your knees.”

During one scuffle, a rioter tried to take Hodges’ baton and another kicked him in the chest and moved his mask over his eyes, leaving him temporarily blind while under attack.

While at his post as rioters began to assemble, he saw people in the crowd in tactical gear, wearing ballistic vests, helmets and goggles, appearing “to be prepared for much more than listening to politicians speak at a park,” he recalled.

“Terrorists were breaking apart the middle fencing and bike racks and the individual pieces, presumably to use weapons,” Hodges told the committee.

In the haze, Hodges said he remembers seeing the “thin blue line flag, a symbol of support for law enforcement” being carried by the rioters who then attacked the very officers they claimed to support. Hodges was told he was “on the wrong team” by one of the attackers.

As he was being gassed and having his head smashed, Hodges recounted screaming for help until fellow officers were able to save him from the attackers.

Politico reports:

TRUMP EMBRACES ‘GREAT PEOPLE’ OF JAN. 6 — In a Sunday interview on Fox News with MARIA BARTIROMO, former President DONALD TRUMP spun up a new interpretation of Jan. 6: It was an act of “love,” a word he used repeatedly to describe the sacking of the Capitol. He portrayed ASHLI BABBITT essentially as a martyr — an “innocent, wonderful, incredible woman” — while floating a conspiracy that she was murdered by security for a “top Democrat.” In a throwback to Charlottesville, he called the rioters “great people.”

Kevin McDermott of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch excoriated retiring Senator Roy Blunt as a symbol of a cowering GQP establishment that failed to stand up to Trump. McDermott wonders why newcomer Josh Hawley has a national profile (as a Trump lackey), but the senior senator from Missouri is virtually unknown outside the state.

Unfortunately, Blunt also has personified what establishment Republicans became during the Trump era: passive enablers to a chronically mendacious, constitutionally malicious, mentally unfit president.

And now Blunt is, once again, personifying the GOP establishment, this time by exiting the extremist bunker that his party has become — a trend that intensified under Trump, as Blunt and others at the grownups’ table stared down at their plates in mute terror...

Blunt, just by virtue of his position in the Senate Republican hierarchy, could have forced a historic shift in the narrative of the Trump era had he done what he could have — shouldhave — done at any point during Trump’s tenure. Blunt could have walked up to any microphone in sight after some Trumpian outrage or other (the available choices were constant) and said what he knows is true: “This isn’t who we are. As a party, or as a country. Acceptance of this ignorant, corrosive sociopath of a president isn’t a valid trade for tax cuts and judges. It’s a selling of the soul, and I won’t do it anymore.

Yes, he would have lost his Senate Republican leadership role and probably his seat — the same seat he is now leaving willingly anyway. Meanwhile, it would have forced a badly needed self-examination by the GOP. Most importantly, Blunt might have provided a little cover for lower-ranking Republicans of conscience to follow suit.

Instead, Blunt mostly held his tongue for four years, voting twice to acquit Trump for his clearly impeachable offenses of trying to extort election aid from Ukraine and for inciting violent insurrection in an attempt to overturn the 2020 vote.

In essence, Blunt consistently backed a president who represented the most dire threat to constitutional democracy that we’ve seen in our lifetimes. The fact that Blunt did this quietly, without the toxic enthusiasm of Hawley and his ilk, is irrelevant. What’s the point of having a grownups’ table if its occupants let the children overrun the place?

I wrote this article a few weeks ago. I submitted it to two major newspapers as an opinion piece. The editors at both newspapers said there were no cases in the judicial pipeline, and thus my proposal was impossible. But then on Monday February 22, the Supreme Court made a decision about a Trump challenge to the Pennsylvania balloting, rejecting it with a single sentence. That might have been the chance. Maybe there is another futile legal challenge that would make this plea possible. I offer it to you because I think it makes sense even if the op-ed editors don’t.

            The United States is split almost down the middle, as the last election demonstrated. Families and friends are hopelessly divided, and some people just can’t discuss politics anymore for fear of losing touch with people they care about. Some people blame Donald Trump, some blame Newt Gingrich, some trace the fissures back even farther in time. 

            Whenever it started, the issue today is how we are able to function as a nation when we can’t even agree on basic facts. The political polarization seems likely to last a long time, but at the very least we could heal some of the divisions by establishing one basic fact: Who won the last election. According to polls, most Republicans have been persuaded by former President Trump that the election was stolen from him. To this day, Trump continues to insist he won the election.

            There is only one tribunal where this issue of fact can be resolved to the satisfaction of almost all Americans, and that is the United States Supreme Court. The current composition of the Supreme Court heavily favors Republicans. Six of its nine members were appointed by Republican presidents: Chief Justice John Roberts (appointed by President George W. Bush); Justice Clarence Thomas (appointed by President George H.W. Bush); Justice Stephen Breyer (appointed by President Bill Clinton); Justice Samuel Alito (appointed by President George W. Bush); Justice Sonia Sotomayor, appointed by President Barack Obama); Justice Elena Kagan (appointed by President Barack Obama); Justice Neil Gorsuch (appointed by President Donald Trump); Justice Brett Kavanaugh (appointed by President Trump); and Amy Coney Barrett (appointed by President Trump). 

            Chief Justice John Roberts could lead the Court in deciding to consider one of the many challenges to the Presidential election of 2020. The Supreme Court declined to hear three challenges, and at least sixty cases were decided by state and federal courts. Surely, there must still be one in the pipeline that would allow the Supreme Court to review the evidence and reach a conclusion about whether the election was wrongly decided, whether there was massive voter fraud, and whether voting machines were rigged to favor the Biden-Harris ticket. One of the voting machine companies, Smartmatic, has been accused of “rigging” the vote in multiple states, but it was used only in Los Angeles County. Both Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems have filed massive defamation lawsuits against those who accused them of switching votes from Trump to Biden.

            A careful review by the Supreme Court could take into consideration the lengthy record of litigation in federal district courts and appeals courts where the Trump campaign was unable to produce any evidence for its claims of election fraud. Outside the courtroom, campaign officials made lurid charges of voter fraud, lost ballots, rigged machines, ballot dumps, and votes cast by dead people, but they didn’t repeat those claims in the courtroom because they had no evidence.

            If the nation is ever to heal, there must be a reckoning with the charges that are now poisoning our politics. A sizable portion of the nation does not believe that Joe Biden won the election. A significant part of the Republican Party believes that his presidency is illegitimate. Such claims damage the ability of our political system to function. These claims were the basis of the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 that might have led to mass casualties, had it not been for the bravery of an overwhelmed Capitol Police force. Former President Trump has made clear that he will continue to insist that the election was stolen from him. He will not stop undermining his successor.

            Only an institution that has the trust of the majority of the American people, and especially an institution that has the trust of Republicans, can settle this matter to the satisfaction of the vast majority of our citizens. 

            Only the United States Supreme Court have the credibility to review the facts and set the record straight about the 2020 election. 

Jeff Bryant wrote in the LA Progressive about President Biden’s “golden opportunity” to strengthen public education by throwing out two decades of failed “reforms.”

As we now know (and Jeff did not when he wrote the article), Biden got off on the wrong foot by mandating another round of standardized testing this spring. This unwise decision was foretold when the news came out that the Biden administration had hired Ian Rosenblum as Deputy Assistant Secretary in a key part of the Department of Education, where policy and strategy are forged. Rosenblum was never a teacher. He previously worked for the pro-testing Education Trust New York, where John King was his mentor. When King was Commissioner of Education in New York, his heavy-handed advocacy for Common Core and high-stakes testing created the parent-led Opt Out movement.

The Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has not yet been confirmed; he is not anti-testing, but might he have been more thoughtful about mandating a renewal of testing in the midst of a global pandemic? Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten has not yet been confirmed; she knows that testing is an after-effect, not a cause of sensible education policies. But neither of them was in place. Was Rosenblum left on his own to impose a national mandate? I suspect that President Biden never heard of Ian Rosenblum, yet this young man has made millions of parents and teachers angry with his insensitive, heavy-handed announcement.

Yes, President Biden has a “golden opportunity” to rebuild and strengthen public education. But not by relying on people molded by the twenty years of failed “reforms” of the Bush-Obama-Trump years.

As Bryant points out, the schools need a new vision for education, not a stale, warmed-over dose of testing, accountability, and privatization. No, we do not need another dose of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Every Student Succeeds–all of which failed. It’s time to break free of the status quo. It’s time for fresh thinking. Filling up the U.S. Department of Education with retreads from the Obama years–and their progeny–will send us backwards, not forwards. Now is a time for sensitivity, not stupidity.

The Los Angeles Times reported on the latest FBI arrest of one of the domestic terrorists who participated in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol:

A UCLA student who posted white supremacist views online and founded an ultra-right campus organization has been charged with federal crimes for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.

The student, Christian Secor, was captured on video sitting in the chair that Vice President Mike Pence had hastily vacated after a pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol, according to the FBI. 

FBI agents, assisted by a SWAT team, arrested Secor, 22, at his Costa Mesa home Tuesday morning after searching the residence, said Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman. 

Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., have charged Secor with assaulting or resisting a police officer, violent entry and remaining on restricted grounds, civil disorder and obstructing an official proceeding. 

During an appearance in federal court in Orange County on Tuesday, a U.S. magistrate ordered that Secor be held without bail.

Secor was captured on both video and still images in a red Make America Great Again hat occupying the chair where Pence had sat while presiding over the Senate’s certification of electoral college votes, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Benjamin Elliott.

A man was captured on video camera inside the Senate chambers sitting at the Presiding Officer's chair

At least 11 tipsters identified Secor as the man in the video and still images either standing on the Senate floor or on the dais sitting in Pence’s chair… 

After video of the scene surfaced on the New Yorker’s website, investigators obtained security camera video of Secor in the hallways, Rotunda area and Senate floor, the affidavit said.

Moments earlier, Secor was with a mob forcing his way past at least three police officers and through a set of double doors into the Capitol, Elliott said in the sworn statement. 

“As a result of Secor and others pushing on the double doors … the doors opened and dozens of additional rioters flooded into the building,” Elliott wrote. “The Capitol Police officers were shoved by the crowd, at times trapped between the doors and the crowd, and eventually pushed out of the way of the oncoming mob.”

Agents also found that Secor had broadcast live from the Capitol using DLive, a videostreaming service built on blockchain technology. 

In the livestream, Secor uses the moniker Scuffed Elliot Rodger, an apparent reference to the man who killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., in 2014 and became a hero to “incels” — a fringe group of sexually frustrated men who blame women for their misery and often advocate for violence against them.

The Sun-Sentinel in South Florida wrote a scathing editorial about the Senate Republicans who failed to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection that endangered the lives of members of Congress as they fulfilled their Constitutional duty to certify the winner of the election.

It begins:

The Republican Party was on trial along with Donald Trump. Both now stand convicted, if not by the Senate, then definitely in the eyes of the nation and the world: The ex-president for planning, inciting and inflaming a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to keep himself in power, and the party for excusing that monumental crime against the American people.

The seven Republicans who voted him guilty were 10 too few to convict him, but they deserve the nation’s love and thanks for their devotion to the Constitution. So do the House impeachment managers, who made a virtually flawless case leading to the most bipartisan impeachment vote ever, 57 to 43.

The 43 senators whose votes acquitted him chose the wrong side in the eternal conflict between conscience and cowardice. They prostituted our democracy to a demagogue and despot. They made a dead letter of impeachment and set history’s stage for others like him.

Those contemptible senators, including Florida’s Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, have cost their party any claim to the respect and trust of the American people.

The damage is beyond repair. It has betrayed the nation. The moment calls for the remaining responsible Republicans, however few or many, to break away. The case for a new party is as urgent as when the GOP was founded in 1854 to oppose the spread of slavery.

The nation cannot do without the political balance provided by a center-right party proudly bound to constitutional principles, such as the peaceful transfer of power. Until now, no president of either party had defied the expressed will of the voters.

But the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower has become the party of Trump, who holds it in such thrall that only 10 of its House members and seven of its 50 senators dared to hold him responsible for the worst crime it was possible for an American president to commit.

That so many others could accept his having put their own lives at risk on Jan. 6 can be understood only in the context of their political ambitions. Their careers matter more to them than anything else, least of all their oaths of office.

The party of Trump is extremist and infested with cadres of domestic terrorists like the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Bois and the Oathkeeepers.

An example of its moral bankruptcy was the vote of the Wyoming party to censure Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, for her courageous vote to impeach Trump.

Abraham Lincoln would not recognize what Trump has made of the party, but Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez very well might.

The House impeachment managers proved beyond reasonable doubt every element of a cynical and criminal conspiracy on Trump’s part.

The editorial continues, and it is worth reading in full.

Mull over this line: “only 10 of its House members and seven of its 50 senators dared to hold him responsible for the worst crime it was possible for an American president to commit.

As Cong. Jamie Raskin asked on the Senate floor, “If these acts do not deserve impeachment, what does?”

It is hard to imagine anything worse for a president to do, unless he lined up his opposition and shot them. Would the 43 Republican Senators have held Trump accountable if he did that? One wonders.

Steve Chapman is a member of the editorial board of The Chicago Tribune. He wrote here what I was thinking. Trump did profound damage to our democracy, and a majority of Republicans endorsed his vicious attack on our Capitol and on democracy itself. He spent months complaining that the Presidential election was “rigged,” unless he won, in which case it would be valid. When he lost the election decisively, he refused to concede and launched a barrage of lawsuits, all claiming “voter fraud.” His lawyers never produced any proof of fraud, his obeisance Attorney General told him there was not enough fraud to change the outcome of the election, his director of election cyber security told him the election was fair (and was fired for it). YetTrump and his lackeys continued to rage about fraud, even though all his lawsuits were thrown out. He couldn’t even get a win from judges he appointed, which baffled him. Unwilling to admit defeat, he summoned his MAGA followers to DC on January 6, promising them a “wild” day.

Wild, it was, beginning with an incendiary 70-minute speech by Trump, urging the mob to March on the Capitol and “fight like hell” or lose their country. They did as he instructed. They broke through police lines. They were enraged and violent, beating the po’ice who tried to keep them out of the Capitol, which had not been invaded since the war of 1812. They sacked and ransacked the Capitol, while members of Congress, assembled to certify Joe Biden’s election, were hurriedly evacuated. There were only minutes between the physical evacuation of the legislators and the rush of the mob into their chambers. We can only speculate what would have happened if they had seized Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, and other members of Congress. It might have been a bloody massacre. Trump watched the horror on television and did nothing to call off his followers. How close we came to a violent coup!

The whole world was watching as our democracy hung in the balance.

Was Donald Trump responsible? Of course he was. Mitch McConnell admitted as much after he voted to acquit him because he was a “private citizen.” This is the same McConnell who refused to start the trial while Trump was still in office.

The seven Republicans who voted to defend our democracy instead of licking Trump’s soiled boots deserve our thanks: Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Some of them, like Liz Cheney of Wyoming, were condemned by the leaders of their state Republican Party, for daring to defend the Constitution and their oath of office.

This is what Steve Chapman wrote (in part):

One of the most familiar lessons of the Donald Trump era is that no matter how bad today is, tomorrow can always be worse. We learned over and over that there is no bottom to his capacity for outrageous conduct, and there is no limit to his party’s tolerance for it.

Jan. 6 was one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the American republic. An incumbent president who had decisively lost his reelection roused his deranged disciples to launch a massive attack on the U.S. Capitol in an effort to keep him in office. It was an attempted coup, nothing less. Lives were lost, members of Congress and their aides were traumatized, and the president who instigated the attack took pleasure in it.

But Saturday’s Senate vote to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial was worse. Forty-three duly elected representatives of the people of their states chose to ignore or rationalize his shocking blitzkrieg. They repudiated their sworn duty to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

No American president has been so openly contemptuous of the constraints of the Constitution as Trump. He decided long ago to treat any defeat at the polls as the result of fraud, regardless of the reality. If the democratic processes of our system did not give him what he wanted, he would wage war on them. And he did — starting months before Americans went to the polls and continuing for months afterward.

Any elected government can be hijacked by a skilled and ruthless demagogue. But in the design of our system, Congress is supposed to serve as a counterweight to the president, jealous of its prerogatives and independent of the executive branch. The impeachment power is the ultimate check, allowing legislators to remove any president who abuses his office.

But the impeachment power now has about as much importance as the Third Amendment — which forbids quartering of soldiers in private homes during peacetime. Trump’s second acquittal leaves no doubt that for most Republican members of Congress, party comes before country, now and forever...

Congressional Republicans, with a handful of noble exceptions, are more than willing to excuse the inexcusable if it comes from a president who shares their partisan affiliation. Maybe they are afraid of the political consequences they would face for breaking with Trump. Maybe they think what he did to advance the GOP agenda — tax cuts, deregulation, conservative judges — is bigger than what he did to sabotage constitutional government.

Maybe some even relish the idea of right-wing extremists terrorizing elected officials to advance Republican policies. Whatever the motive, the damage is deep and possibly irreparable.

The danger produced by this dismal outcome is not so much that Trump will run again in 2024. Chances are good that by then, he will be indicted and convicted for at least one felony, whether for tax evasion, campaign finance violations, solicitation of election fraud or other crimes. He would have trouble running for president from a correctional institution. Likewise if he decides to flee to a country that has no extradition treaty with the U.S.

The real significance of the Senate’s refusal to convict Trump is that it normalizes behavior that once would have been anathema to either political party. It assures his followers that he did nothing wrong. It eats away at the foundation of our form of government. It invites a future Republican president — shrewder and more disciplined than Trump — to install himself permanently in the White House.

It may sound impossible in a republic as long-lasting and resilient as ours. But since Jan. 6, a lot of things that seemed impossible have come to pass. And they have inflicted a wound on our democracy that may never heal.

Donald Trump should face the full force of the law for his multiple crimes. He may be convicted for interfering with the election in Georgia, for tax evasion in New York, or for many other crimes. But he escaped punishment for violating his oath of office and unleashing a blood-thirsty mob on his Vice-President and the members of Congress, a crime that sits at the feet of the 43 senators too spineless to hold him accountable.

Bob Shepherd recognizes that Trump has left behind many memories, many additions to our dictionary, many new linguistic expressions.

In this post, he remembers what Trump has added to our common vocabulary.

Starting with covfefe.