Senators laughed at video played in Trump’s defense during impeachment trial, reports say

The former president’s lawyers played a compilation tape of Democrat senators using the word ‘fight’

Louise Hall
Saturday 13 February 2021 16:44
Trump impeachment trial: Forth day summary

Senators laughed out loud at a video played in defense of Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial, according to reports.

The former president’s lawyers played the selectively-edited clips on Friday in the Senate, in an attempt to equate the language that Mr Trump used in his speech on 6 January before the Capitol riot to that of Democrats.

Mr Trump’s lawyers, who have faced criticism throughout the trial for their “rambling” arguments, played a tape of around a dozen Democrats using the word “fight”.

The video contained clips of lawmakers such as Rep Maxine Waters, Rep Al Green, Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen Elizabeth Warren calling for Mr Trump’s impeachment.

According to reports, some senators had a hard time keeping a straight face as the video played, with certain members even “laughing” at the “long” video.

Both Democratic and Republican senators “were louder than I have ever heard them -- talking and at times openly laughing” during the video, a PBS reporter tweeted.

Read more: Follow all the latest Trump impeachment news live

“During the spliced video featuring Sen Warren for a long while, Senator Tom Cotton, in particular, was laughing and shaking his head,” PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor wrote.

According to Ms Alcindor, many Democrats were “exchanging troubled looks” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “looked particularly troubled” during the video “but also laughed and shook his head at times”.

In contrast, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “sat stone-faced, legs crossed as the video was played. No laughing, no whispering, no looking around”.

The efforts of Mr Trump’s lawyers were quickly condemned by Democrats and commentators.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal told reporters that Mr Trump’s team was “trying to draw a false, dangerous and distorted equivalence.”

“I think that the case is even more powerful after this very distorted and false argument,”he said, according to The Washington Post.

Delaware Senator Christopher Coons said: “Show me any time that the result was our supporters pulled someone out of the crowd, beat the living crap out of them and then we said, ‘That’s great, good for you, you’re a patriot.’ ”

“He did nothing to stop it, nothing to check on the safety of his own vice president, nothing to dispatch aid or help.”

He added: “Simply saying once you should march peacefully and patriotically doesn’t allow you to then overlook the entire context of his history as a candidate and president, of the context and his role in summoning that crowd and who was in it and what their intent was and then failing to do anything to stop the breach of the Capitol.”

Vox journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted: “What is this never-ending video of Democrats saying ‘fight’ meant to prove? Is it supposed to be a form of torture?”

“Will Itchy and Scratchy be featured in the next ‘fight’ video montage?” asked film director Adam Rifkin, referring to the warring cartoon cat and mouse featured in The Simpsons.

“This speech is not the defense trumps lawyers think it is,” Daily Beast editor-at-large Molly Jong-Fast wrote.

During the “Save America” rally on 6 January, Mr Trump told supporters to “show strength” and “fight like hell”.

Five people died as a result of the violence, including one Capitol Police officer who was beaten as he tried to ward off the rioters.

A pro-Trump mob, who were demanding that the election result be overturned, vandalized Capitol property and looted the building, smashing windows and ransacking offices.

Following the attack, the House voted to impeach Mr Trump, accusing him of “incitement to insurrection” for his actions in the run-up to and during the riot.

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