FARGO — Shame on North Dakota Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven for voting to acquit former President Donald Trump. Their votes were not based on the overwhelming evidence against Trump, but were based on cowardice.
Before the trial even started, Cramer called it “stupid,” “a mockery” and “disgusting.” So much for being an impartial juror. So much for recognizing Trump’s enormous role in the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
To explain their votes, Cramer and Hoeven gave the bogus excuse that the trial was unconstitutional because Trump was out of office. That was a smokescreen to give cover to their spinelessness. Several highly respected conservative constitutional scholars said the trial was absolutely constitutional. U.S. Sen. William Blount and Secretary of War William Belknap were impeached and put on trial after they left office. The key is that Trump’s dangerous conduct took place while he was in office.
Because of Trump, there was a violent attempt to overturn the election results and overthrow the government. Seven people are dead, including three police officers. Dozens of other police officers suffered head and spinal injuries after being assaulted by the treasonous mob. Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other leaders were targeted for murder by the rioters. This only happened because of the actions of Donald Trump. The thugs even admitted they were doing this for Trump.
Cramer said, “The House Managers failed to establish a direct line between the Jan. 6 attacks on the United States and the former president’s public statements and remarks.” It’s hard to fathom what world Cramer is living in, when he denies the obvious.
It was Trump who said months before the election that if he lost, the election was rigged. It was Trump who loudly and repeatedly spread the big lie, enabled by Cramer and Hoeven, that the election was stolen from him. It was Trump who called and pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to criminally falsify the presidential election results in that state. It was Trump who, at the Jan. 6 rally, told his sheep-like followers that, “We will stop the steal,” and that “We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” It was Trump who berated Pence.
Perhaps the most sickening part is that right after the violent attack started and lives were in danger, Trump did nothing to stop it. Instead, he sent out an alarming tweet that blasted Pence and repeated the big lie.
I understand Cramer's and Hoeven’s cowardice. They fear Trump. They don’t want to be censured by North Dakota Republicans. They don’t want to have primary opponents. Still, they chose their self-interests over doing the right thing for their country.
History will not be kind to Cramer, Hoeven and the other 41 senators who voted to acquit Trump. Future Americans will question why they supported a president who incited a deadly coup attempt, and why they betrayed their oaths to support and defend the Constitution.
Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director. Email firstname.lastname@example.org