Author’s Note: This is the 17th in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll be writing for CommPRO.biz until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI: My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column I write on how the majority of Republican representatives still supported Trump after the storming of Congress.)
In the 1930’s, the famous comedian Will Rogers said, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”
The same is true today. The Democratic Party is composed of social Democrats, liberal Democrats, left of center Democrats, center Democrats and conservative Democrats. Despite which category a Democratic member of Congress falls into they have one thing in common: They are not afraid to criticize the president of the United States, even when the individual is the leader of their party. Ask the last Democratic president, Barack Obama, and the soon-to-be Democratic president, Joe Biden. They’ll corroborate what I write.
Conversely, ever since Donald Trump was elected president, the Republican Party has become the Party of Trump, composed of conservative Republicans, far right conservative Republicans, conspiracy theorist Republicans and believers in anything President Trump says Republicans. Like the Democrats, the Republicans also have things in common: They are afraid of criticizing the president for fear of retribution and they are afraid to call a lie a lie.
Even after the storming of the Capitol on January 6 by supporters of President Trump, except for 10 House members, and less than a handful of Senators, the Republicans were still in lock step with Trump. This was evident during the debate that led to the historic second impeachment of President Trump.
The televised debate revealed what everyone who follows politics already knows. The Republican Party is still the Trump Party, despite Washington, D.C. looking like a battle zone because of Trump’s Big Lie tactics, reminiscent of the technique used by Adolph Hitler’s destroying the democratic Weimer Republic and becoming Germany’s dictator. (For doubters: Check the history,)
Republicans who spoke during the impeachment debate could not get themselves to admit that Donald Trump’s claim that the election was stolen from him was a Big Lie, even though it was the president’s repeating that falsehood ever since Fox News called Georgia for Biden on November 3, that led to the insurrection on January 6.
Here’s an abridged summary of what Republican speakers emphasized during the debate:
- Not once did a Republican speaker say that Joe Biden was fairly elected.
- Not once during the debate did a Republican speaker say that the president had lied when he repeatedly said, “We won by a landslide. We won the election. It was stolen from us.”
- Instead Republican speakers said “Now is the time for healing, not impeachment debates.”
- Instead Republican speakers accused the Democrats of using “cancel culture.”
- Instead Republicans accused the Democrats of attempting to impeach President Trump within minutes of his swearing in 2016, when the truth is that the Democratic leadership ignored the request of one Democratic representative two times.
- Instead Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy of California said that impeaching the president would further divide the country, even though for four years he and his caucus did nothing to help lessen the divide.
- Instead Republican speaker Rep. Tom McClintock of California said attempting to impeach a president with only a week left in his term was “petty, vindictive and gratuitous,” but said nothing about the pettiness and vindictiveness of the president over the past four years.
- Instead Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio accused the Democrats of not permitting a debate on the merits of an impeachment, even though he was debating when he made the remark.
Republicans also tried to equate the attacks on the Capitol to the Black Lives Matter protests of last summer, even though they were not similar. The BLM protests were against racial inequality; which occasionally turned violent. The attacks on the Capitol was an orchestrated attempt to overturn a democratic election and keep President Trump in power through a planned violent effort to stop the Electoral College votes from being counted, which would have ended the system of government we now have, the perpetrators of which are now still considered a dangerous threat to democracy and still threaten to use violent means to achieve their aims.
Not once did a speaker say that President Trump neglected to uphold his sworn oath to protect the Constitution.
Not once did a Republican speaker say that the 2020 presidential election was the cleanest one in U.S. history, as the coordinating bodies on election infrastructure and security said in a joint statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Instead the Republicans speakers, who helped the president inflame his followers for four years, and added fuel to the already fired up mob he invited to gather in Washington on June 6, blamed the Democrats for refusing to help the healing process or blamed them for the problem.
What the Republican speakers asked the Democrats to do was let bygones be bygones and permit the last week of Trump’s presidency pass without blaming him for inciting an insurrection that caused five deaths as his undemocratic minions stormed the Capitol.
During the debate, Rep. Jordan read a statement from the president saying, “In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.” But Trump deliberately left the barn door open four years ago so the horses could escape and even when they stampeded the Capitol did nothing to round them up. Instead, he watched what was happening on a television set paid for by the American citizens whose democracy he attempted to destroy.
After all the speeches were concluded, only 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump and defend democracy, putting their own political careers at risk. I don’t agree politically with any of the Courageous 10, but if they were in my district I would consider voting for them, because I believe that a candidate’s character is more important than their political stance.
The result of the debate was that Trump became the first president of the United States to be impeached twice and that the GOP House members either believe that what the president says is true, that they are afraid to speak against the most disgraced president in our history or, even worse, they would rather cling to power even if it means turning the democratic republic of the United States into a country ruled by a would be dictator.
About the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or email@example.com.