After a week of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, including harrowing video footage from the 6 January attack on the US Capitol and bumbling arguments by the defense, the US Senate voted over the weekend to acquit the former president for this role in the attack.
The vote – all Democrats and seven Republicans, 57-43, far short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction – was “true to form” for Trump, joked Trevor Noah on Monday’s Daily Show. “This dude just loves losing the popular vote.”
As for the verdict, “I get that it’s disappointing for a lot of people, but we should know this by now,” Noah continued. “This is what Trump does: he wiggles his way out of accountability. Trying to hold Trump accountable for his crimes is like trying to kill a fruit fly.”
The outcome was unsurprising, but the trial was “a bit of a sticky situation for Republicans”, Noah explained, because “polls show that most Americans don’t like Trump, and think he should’ve been convicted.
“But the GOP base still loves Trump and would turn on anyone who votes against him faster than Buffy fans turned on Joss Whedon,” he added, referencing recent accusations of on-set emotional abuse and manipulation by the Justice League director.
So Republican senators came up with “a really amazing and bullshit excuse that even if Trump was guilty, they couldn’t do anything about it because he’s already out of office”, Noah added. And no one “rolled around in that bullshit more” than the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who said Trump was “responsible for provoking the events of the day” but that “we have no power to convict and disqualify a former office holder who is now a private citizen”.
It was McConnell who, as Senate majority leader, delayed the trial until after Biden’s inauguration.
“Basically what he’s saying is: Trump caused the riot,” Noah translated. “Trump is super guilty, and Mitch just hopes that someday, someone else will do something about it.”
Still, “no one is actually buying this explanation”, Noah continued. “Out of anyone, Mitch McConnell is the one person who always finds a way to get things done if he wants to get it done. This dude is so effective, he has federal judges on the French supreme court,” he joked, referring to McConnell’s signature strategy of packing district courts in the Trump era with conservative judges.
Trump’s surrogates, meanwhile, have wasted no time to gloat over the acquittal, his second in as many years; son Eric tweeted simply, “2-0.” Admittedly, Trump is the “acquittal Goat [greatest of all time],” Noah said. “Sorry OJ, you had a good run, but Trump got acquitted twice – and he’s responsible for more deaths.”