The Utah senator is showing he doesn’t believe he is getting the better of the big lie, but he is doing nothing to counter it.
Sen. Mike Lee, of R-Utah, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz, of R-Texas, march on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, February 10, 2021, as they head to day two of the second impeachment trial of the former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)
Mike Lee joined 42 of his fellow Republican senators in acquitting former President Donald Trump of the impeachment charge of inciting insurgency. Lees’ vote is an indefensible decision, and in itself an abject failure to defend the Constitution.
It’s clear to anyone looking at it in good faith that the January 6 riot was solely the result of Trump’s contemptible lie that the election was stolen. The oft-repeated lies about the election, by Trump and his minions, in the face of universal courtroom losses and overwhelming evidence, have come to be known as the Big Lie.
To his credit, Lee did not join some of his fellow Republicans who challenged (in bad faith) the Certified Electoral College results that were counted by Vice President Mike Pence on Jan.6. Again to his credit, in his next press release during the impeachment vote, Lee refused to forgive Trump’s conduct on the insurgency (while alleging that such conduct does not meet the criteria conviction of the impeachment charge).
The only thing that proves is that Lee himself doesn’t believe in the big lie. But I’m not aware that Lee categorically denounces the Big Lie, or forcefully condemns those of his fellow Republicans who, as of January 6, still supported and fomented the Big Lie.
Lee admitted meeting with Trumps’ legal team in the middle of the impeachment trial, when Lee was one of 100 jurors. No matter what was discussed, it was irresponsible and unlawful behavior.
Recognizing that the Big Lie was a lie and that Trump had done something wrong, Lee metaphorically advanced the ball to the two-yard line, after which he began to take a knee.
It is impossible to overstate how much of a disaster for our country was the riot of January 6. Dictators like Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping will use it to claim that the American electoral process is corrupt, bogus and twisted. The January 6 riot will be the pinnacle of everything whenever election results are challenged in Russia, China or other countries.
What is perhaps most heartbreaking is that our country will never again be able to boast with pride that it always carries out a peaceful transfer of power. Peaceful transfers of power are mainly a phenomenon of the advent of democracies over the past two centuries. Previously, in human history, peaceful transfers of power were extremely rare. Even today, violent transfers of power are common. And now we can count the United States on the list of places that have this shameful distinction.
In justifying his decision, Lee analyzed the language of Trump rhetoric and impeachment procedures, to provide a fully legalistic defense of Trump. Like the man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing, Lee seizes on alleged legalisms to excuse Trump from impeachment conviction resulting from the most serious violation of the Constitution by a president in our country’s history .
I can only speculate on what would motivate Lee to take his heinous actions. The obvious reason would be the fear of alienating the large number of staunch Trump supporters within the Republican Party and the wish to avoid the risk of losing in his next primary election. But the sedition of January 6 and the responsibilities that flow from being a US senator call unambiguously to put his country above his political career.
A resignation from the Senate is the only legitimate consequence, as his shameful decisions constituted the metaphorical murder of the Constitution by cowardly Mike Lee.
| Courtesy of Eric Rumple, Opinion Mug.
Eric Rumple lives in Sandy. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and is the author of the novel Forgive our debts.
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