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What’s wrong with Trump’s defense argument

Trump’s lawyers, especially David Schoen, are trying to portray Trump’s use of the word “fight” — which impeachment prosecutors have focused on — as normal political language.

“Opening their defense of Trump at his Senate impeachment trial Friday, the former president’s lawyers played a 10-minute video of Democrats, including some of the impeachment managers and senators serving as jurors, saying the word ‘fight’ in speeches and on television hundreds of times,” AOL News reported on Friday, February 12, 2021 (read story here).

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Schoen said of Democrats featured in the footage. “That’s a word people use. But please stop the hypocrisy.”

And he’s right, as far as that goes, but the contexts were totally different. This wasn’t campaign rhetoric. Trump had no business “fighting” the result of an election he lost, or exhorting his supporters to “fight” to overturn it or prevent the counting of electoral votes. That “fight” was illegitimate, because there didn’t exist legitimate factual grounds to dispute the election result. There’s no hypocrisy, because none of those Democrats ever “fought” an election result in the manner Trump did.

A simple analogy will make this clear. College football teams have their “fight” songs. That’s not the same as telling gang members to “fight” a rival gang. It just isn’t. Schoen is throwing up a smokescreen. It’s specious. Really, a child could see through this. But, more than anything, he’s providing cover for cowardly Republican senators like Roger Marshall of Kansas, who said,

“I think the Trump legal team has knocked it out of the park,” Marshall said. “I think that they’ve proven exactly what I thought all the time, that President Trump lives rent free in the heads of these Democrats. I sat in the House for for four years and listened to Nancy Pelosi and Jamie Raskin just rail on President Trump, giving speech after speech on impeachment. So I think that has made them very tainted and what they presented today, it just pointed out again the hypocrisy of it,” he added. Marshall said he has seen enough and is ready to vote. “I think the trial is basically over with, I’m ready to vote and and get on with life. It’s time for us to get back to the work of the people working getting vaccinations in people’s arms and getting the economy open again.”

(Story here.) He makes it sound like there was no violent insurrection, no Proud Boys hunting the halls of the Capitol Building looking for people to kill, no police officers killed and injured by the rioters — in his Republican world, none of that ever happened, or if it did, it doesn’t need to be dealt with.

That’s like a prosecuting attorney sitting with feet on desk, filing his nails, saying he won’t prosecute the guy who raped your daughter, you should be worrying about getting a vaccination appointment instead, and should “move on.” But Marshall (photo, right) is a doctor, not a lawyer, so you can’t expect him to understand anything about law and order.

And it’s no just Sen. Marshall, it’s most GOP senators and nearly the entire Republican Party. No matter how much you disagree with Democrats, or how bad you think they are, they’re the only alternative to Republicans, and don’t remotely approach this degree of awfulness.

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