With Trump, It’s Often a Question of Literal and Nonliteral

With Trump, It’s Often a Question of Literal and Nonliteral February 2, 2021

Donald Trump speaks with a forked tongue. When he says something, it can often be understood as literal or nonliteral. It has been this way throughout his presidency. When he says something that most hearers understand him to mean literally, and then he gets highly criticized for it, Trump then argues that he didn’t mean it that way. He often offers one of two defenses: either he didn’t mean it literally or he was just joking.

Under Trump’s direction, it’s going to be the same with his legal team when it seeks to defend the former president in the Senate trial of him that begins February 9th. They will argue that on January 6th, when Republican President Trump stirred up the crowd that marched on the Capitol Building–where over 500 members of Congress were gathered in traditional ceremony to certify the election results that Democrat Joe Biden would be the next president–the resulting riot was not of Trump’s doing since he didn’t mean it literally when he told them to “fight” in order to overturn an election that was a “fraud.”

I think the House impeachment managers will then show Trump’s actions both before and especially afterwards, when he returned to the White House to watch the televised riot, to try to prove that Trump certainly did mean it literally. If they can prove that, then Trump should be convicted of “incitement to insurrection” as the House’s article of impeachment describes.

That would be categorized as a “crimes or misdemeanors” as the Constitution states, which must be ruled as insurrection. But 67 senators, thus 2/3s of the Senate, must agree to this and thereby vote to convict him. And it seems at this point very unlikely that 17 or more Republican senators will throw in their hat to convict the now former president. However, there is a big unknown now, which is the former Majority Leader, now Minority Leader, of the Senate–Mitch McConnell.

Prior to the riot on January 6th, McConnell was a Trump card. But now, he has turned on the president. McConnell has been stating repeatedly that Trump deserved to be impeached by the House due to the assault on the Capitol. McConnell has even lauded Republican Senator Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, for her courageous stand in claiming Trump deserved to be impeached and implication that she will vote for his conviction. Still, McConnell has not committed himself as to how he will vote. He merely says he wants to hear the evidence.

Trump has now been impeached twice by the House, which is unprecedented and I think unquestionably makes him “the worst president in U.S. history.” This second impeachment is about a much more serious matter than the first impeachment was, with this one being about alleged insurrection. It does not seem that a U.S. president could be charged with anything worse. For this reason, I think this upcoming televised Senate impeachment proceeding of former President Donald J. Trump will be much more watched by viewers than the first one was. It will really be quite historic.

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