February 15, 2021 | revcom.us
Editors’ Note: Along with what is below, for a fuller picture, go here.
This past week witnessed the second Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump. The House of Representatives, led by the Democratic majority, had voted to impeach Trump on January 13. This was then sent to the Senate for trial, with assigned House Democrats as impeachment managers, making the case to the senators as jurors. The trial focused on Trump’s actions to overturn the election, with an emphasis on the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, an attempted fascist coup. Five people died in this attack and scores were injured, as the crowd outside celebrated around a gallows and a huge cross, waving flags of the slavery-defending Confederacy and Trump himself.
Through the use of powerful videotapes and timelines, an undeniable case was made by the impeachment managers that:
- Trump himself made clear statements that the only outcome of the 2020 election that he would accept was if he won;
- Trump lied repeatedly that an overwhelming victory had been stolen by fraud, in order to convince his followers that they must fight to overturn this election and prevent Biden from taking office;
- Trump had a history dating back years of inciting fascist physical attacks on members of the press and dissenters who entered his rallies, his continual encouragement of illegal police violence and even murder against presumably innocent people, as well as calling members of the violent fascist mob that killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, North Carolina, in 2017 “very fine people”;
- Trump called for, organized, and planned the mass action at the Capitol to “stop the steal,” that is, to illegally prevent the legal certifying of the election for Biden, despite Biden’s clear victory, one which had been affirmed by numerous state Republican officials;
- while Trump’s followers, armed with Tasers; bear spray; weaponized flagpoles displaying Trump, U.S., and Confederate flags; and assorted other weapons were storming the Capitol building hunting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Pence1 with intent to kill or maim them and others, and even after he had been notified by at least one senator and the leader of the House Republicans that dangerous, life-threatening physical attacks were going on, he continued more than once to give his blessing and encouragement to those who were clearly carrying out what he wanted.
In the face of this and other clear evidence and what everyone—even many Republicans—said was an incompetent legal defense of Trump, the vote to convict Trump was 57: 50 Democrats and seven Republicans—while 43 Republicans voted to acquit—falling short of the 67 votes needed to convict in an impeachment.
In other words, the Republican senators in their majority voted that Trump was not to be found guilty of any of this. They made clear that their allegiance is to Trump, and to the whole fascist movement that they have now solidified. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell attempted to “have it both ways”—excoriating Trump’s behavior on the 6th (while staying silent on everything that had gone before and paved the way for the 6th, which he, McConnell, had aided and abetted in numerous ways) and then proceeding to vote AGAINST conviction on grounds that were at best flimsy and in actual fact invalid.2
In so doing, they ALL validated Trump as the continued leader of the Republi-fascists and validated as well the practice of armed fascist vigilantes, organized and unorganized, seizing the public square and threatening all who dare cross them.
This drives home what Bob Avakian has written in his New Year’s Statement, “A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity”:
The reality has to be confronted that, as expressed through the election, nearly half this country has passionately, aggressively and belligerently embraced what is represented by “Trumpism.” The unavoidable truth is that this country, the much-proclaimed “Shining City on a Hill,” is full of fascists!—in the government at all levels and in large parts of the society as a whole. And a defining characteristic of these fascists is their fanatical allegiance to demented distortions of reality, which is extremely difficult (and in many cases impossible) to penetrate with reason and fact, because these distortions serve to reinforce their sense of threatened entitlement and render long-standing prejudices and hatreds even more virulent. This fascism is deeply rooted, in the underlying dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system that rules in this country and in the whole history of this country, from its founding in slavery and genocide. Related to this is another critical truth: Biden will fail miserably in his attempt to bring about “healing” and “unite the country.” As I have written previously:
Biden and the Democrats cannot “bring the country together,” as they falsely claim, because there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that!
1. The fascist mob had been whipped up by Trump’s claim that Pence was not doing Trump’s bidding in his attempts to steal the election. [back]
2. McConnell, as the head of the Senate Republican majority, had first set it up so that Trump could not be tried while still president by delaying the Senate trial—and then at the impeachment itself, McConnell claimed that the trial was unconstitutional because… Trump was no longer president! [back]