While some Americans watching the first day of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial were driven to tears by the powerful video montage featuring scenes from the January 6th insurrection with which the Democratic impeachment managers opened their presentation, some Republican senators barely graced the video with their attention.
The Washington Post went out of its way to describe how certain GOP luminaries tried to avoid having to relive that fateful day when their lives were in imminent danger, whether they want to admit it or not.
Here’s how they described the behavior of some senators on the floor of their chamber as the incriminating video played on the screens.
“While the screen showed demonstrators marching on the Capitol, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) looked down at the pad of lined paper in his lap, where he had already begun doodling with a pencil. Behind him, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) studied papers in his lap, taking only the tiniest glimpses at the screen to his right. A few seats over, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also focused most of his attention on papers in front of him instead of on the images depicting the insurrection at the Capitol, and a few seats from him, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) did the same,” The Washington Post described the scene.
“The senators on the floor all lived through the events of Jan. 6, and it is impossible to know why certain individuals chose to look away. The facial expressions of those who did watch were varied: Some were focused intently, others stared blankly, some frowned, and at least one Republican senator’s face appeared to redden the longer the video went on,” the article goes on to say.
While it’s been fairly obvious that many Republican senators are reluctant to alienate Trump’s loyal base of right-wing extremist voters, one would expect that they’d at least take their responsibilities as jurors seriously enough to at least pay proper attention to the evidence being presented.
With many of their minds already made up to acquit Trump for a second time regardless of the validity of any case made against the seditious former real-estate mogul, perhaps these senators with the wandering attention spans simply found it convenient to get some other work down as they were forced to remain on the Senate floor during the proceedings.
It wasn’t just the failure to pay attention that was among the bad behavior exhibited by GOP senators, however.
At least two members of the Republican caucus showed complete disregard for the health and safety of their colleagues and the Capitol Hill staff by refusing to properly wear masks during the trial.
Senator Rand Paul was completely barefaced, while freshman Senator Cynthia M. Lummis (R-WY) was seen wearing her mask uselessly under her chin.
Despite the rude manners of the minority party, the Democrats successfully won the vote to declare their proceedings constitutional.
The trial will now recommence tomorrow afternoon.
Original reporting by Karoun Demirjian at The Washington Post.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.