Trump is gone, but waves remain in his wake.
President Biden said in his inaugural address that to restore the soul of America requires unity. But that might have to wait while some of the residual issues surrounding his predecessor are sorted out.
First, there is the pending impeachment of former President Trump. Yesterday we learned that the House will transmit the single article to the Senate on Monday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced last night that Trump’s impeachment trial will begin on February 9th, giving the Senate time to confirm Biden’s cabinet.
There is also a question of whether those senators who supported Trump’s electoral college challenge will be reprimanded. Seven Senate Democrats have filed an ethics complaint against Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. They want an investigation into the role their conduct may have played in the January 6th events. The letter raised the possibility of “expulsion or censure.”
Hawley recently lost a book deal with Simon and Schuster. Conservative imprint Regnery then stepped in.
Here’s an indication of how complex the Trump aftermath is: Regnery’s distributor is, in fact, Simon and Schuster.
There is also residual blowback in the House.
According to a review by The Washington Post, the 147 republican house members who opposed certification of the presidential vote face the loss of support of many of their largest corporate donors:
“The Washington Post contacted the 30 companies that gave the most money to election-objecting lawmakers’ campaigns through political action committees. Two-thirds, or 20 of the firms, said they have pledged to suspend some or all payments to their pacs.”
One of those Republican members, New York’s Elise Stefanick, has been removed from an advisory committee at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School
For what the dean said was her “public assertions about voter fraud… that have no basis and evidence.”
Another ripple effect: Trump may lose his SAG card.
According to the AP, Trump’s credits include: “The Apprentice,” “Saturday Night Live” and many cameos in films and tv series, including “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Sex and the City.”
But the SAG board said Trump’s role in the January 6th riot might violate its terms for membership, and he could be expelled.
This comes as the former President’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is being investigated by the New York Bar Association.
Meanwhile, Washington Post columnist Max Boot adds to the list another actor he singles out for punishment: Boot calls on large cable companies such as Comcast and the charter spectrum to kick FOX News off their platforms.
Then there is the retail world. Shopify has removed eCommerce sites affiliated with Trump, including his official campaign store. And some retailers are singling out the My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell, who stuck with President Trump to the bitter end. Lindell was photographed leaving the White House last Friday with notes that seemed to reference martial law. Several retailers are dropping My Pillow, including JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Now, some ramifications from January 6th are not subject to debate. For example, the man captured on video hitting police with a hockey stick. He now faces five federal charges.
But what about those who attended the stop the steal rally and didn’t break the law? Many employers across the country are dealing with this issue.
Ohio’s Journal-News reports that the reverend Mark Hodges has been suspended from all priestly functions for three months for attending the rally. The priest maintains he did not go inside the capitol.
KSHB reports that a member of the Kansas City, Missouri, police department attended the rally but didn’t go inside the capitol. The mayor said the officer did nothing unethical in exercising his constitutional rights but stressed that any members found to have broken the law shouldn’t remain on the force.
WHYY reports that seven officers from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (or “SEPTA”) attended the pro-Trump rally. A spokesman for the agency says there’s no indication they were involved in the Capitol breach. Still, one of them will be reassigned for violating the transit agency’s social media policies.
And then there is Jason Moorehead.
In Pennsylvania, the Allentown School District has temporarily suspended the middle school social studies teacher – with pay and benefits – while they investigate his actions in the electoral college protest.
His involvement came to light in this screenshot that he posted with the words: “doing my civic duty.” He was carrying the revolutionary war flag “join, or die.”
He also shared a post on his Facebook page where someone else said, “don’t worry everyone, the capitol is insured,” which some interpreted as a mocking of Black Lives Matter or Antifa. Moorehead then added: “This!”
In a statement, the Allentown school district superintendent wrote:
“We understand that many members of our community are upset by the image. At the same time, the district has an obligation to respect the first amendment rights of our staff and students.
Because of the emotion and controversy stirred by the events of January 6th, 2021, the teacher has been temporarily relieved of his teaching duties until the school district can complete a formal investigation of his involvement.”
Now that Trump has left office and his presidency has entered our rearview mirror, we are only just beginning to grapple with his complicated legacy. There is much to discuss, no doubt, but the assault on our Capitol is an incident that mandates a high-degree of scrutiny.
Make no mistake, those who broke the law that day – such as rioters who assaulted officers – must be sought out and held accountable for their actions. That should not be up for debate.
At the same time, we cannot tar all those present at the Capitol Riots with the same brush. You may oppose their beliefs, disagree with their underlying motives, but there were many presents on that fateful day who want to voice their discontent peacefully.
Isn’t that what our democracy stands for?
Using the perfect blend of analysis and humor, Michael Smerconish delivers engaging, thought-provoking, and balanced dialogue on today’s political arena and the long-term implications of the polarization in politics. In addition to his acclaimed work as nationally syndicated Sirius XM Radio talk show host, newspaper columnist, and New York Times best-selling author, Michael Smerconish hosts CNN’s Smerconish, which airs live on Saturday at 9:00 am ET.