Despite the best efforts of some of the Republican Party's brightest stars, on Wednesday, Donald Trump became the first president in American history to be impeached twice. And just one week after Trump incited a coup attempt on the Capitol building that left multiple people dead and launched this second, historic impeachment effort, a group of congressional Republicans have apparently coalesced a unifying message in these closing days of the Trump administration.
That message is: Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!
To be fair, not all the House Republicans have chosen to publicly throw a temper tantrum over Trump's impending impeachment. Some were too damn scared to do much of anything, and at least 10 actually crossed party lines to vote in favor of sending the articles of impeachment up to the Senate. But as representative after representative rose Wednesday to address the House during the impeachment proceedings, it was clear that within the GOP caucus was a sizable number of lawmakers who, absent anything even resembling the normal human capacity for shame, were eager to use their time to whine, bloviate, and above all else, play the victim.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, the freshman congressman from North Carolina with a weird Hitler fixation who once accused Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) of being someone who "who aims to ruin white males running for office," used his time to invoke the spirit of bipartisanship by putting "America first."
This is the same Cawthorn whose first act as a congressman-elect was to tweet "cry more, lib" and who intimated that he'd been carrying a gun during the Jan. 6 insurrection. He also told a far-right crowd in December that they should feel free to "lightly threaten" their representatives. But now, faced with the fact that hitching his political future to the rapidly imploding MAGA wagon might not have been such a wise move, Cawthorn seems to have decided that the best thing he can do is make vague gestures toward reconciliation, while simultaneously blaming Democrats' impeachment efforts as the real problem.
Then there was fellow freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the anti-Semitic, QAnon-loving Georgia congresswoman, who wore a "censored" face mask as she freely addressed the nation in one of the most significant, widely watched congressional events in recent memory. Her speech was largely an attack on Democrats for "enabling violent riots" which, of course, had nothing to do with the attempted Capitol insurrection, and which is not an accurate description of last summer's racial justice protests.
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who has been accused of actively aiding in the insurrection attempt, used his time to literally quote the History Channel, predict future violence, and — yes — blame Democrats for ruining the country. (Notably, Gohmert conspicuously disobeyed Capitol police on his way into the House chamber the previous morning.)
Joining Gohmert in a state of semi-coherent fury was Florida Man Matt Gaetz, who also leapt on the "actually, it's the DEMOCRATS who are violent and bad" bandwagon, before he degenerated into nonsensical shouting to a chorus of boos.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who had previously described impeachment efforts as "divisive" while preaching a newfound love for reaching across the aisle, refused to accept his party's full responsibility for the insurrection attempt. He referred to the MAGA-addled crowd as "anarchists" instead of the more accurate "Republican Trump supporters interested in overturning an election to deliver authoritarian power to a failed candidate."
Of course, not all House Republicans were quite so unctuous in their attempt to use this impeachment proceeding as a grandstanding springboard for the next phase of their career. But if the performances by Cawthorn, Scalise, and their ilk are any indication, even the impeachment and potential removal of Trump won't change the fact that the Republican Party is fundamentally incapable of — or worse, unwilling to — grapple with its role in this sordid chapter in American history.