Donald Trump’s leading defense lawyer has left many Americans scratching their heads.
During day 1 of Trump’s second impeachment trial, attorney Bruce Castor took the floor to give his opening statement and layout the defense’s argument. However, the former Pennsylvania attorney general failed to pull this off and instead delivered a 50-minute speech in which he clumsily rambled about all sorts of topics, many of which had nothing to do with the charges Trump’s facing.
He cracked a joke about the obsolete record player, how he admired former Illinois representative Everett Dirksen, and then explained why he believed senators were “patriots.” All throughout his speech, observers collectively wondered when he would ever get to the point.
Castor’s argument looked very weak in comparison to the Democrats’ opening remarks. Impeachment managers presented footage of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol siege executed by a pro-Trump mob. The video was interspersed with clips from Trump’s speech from earlier that day, when he encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol and protest the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential win.
“Our country has had enough,” Trump told the crowd, shortly before the deadly riots. “We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.”
The House of Representatives charged Trump with intentionally “inciting violence against the government.” Impeachment managers are arguing that Trump’s words on Jan. 6 are not protected by free speech laws, as they allegedly advocated criminal behavior. Trump’s legal team has argued that the former president never incited the insurrection, and accused Democratic leaders of engaging in “political theater” for their own personal gain.
Castor failed to really dig into the defense’s central argument, and instead relied on personal anecdotes and platitudes in an attempt to convince GOP senators to vote in Trump’s favor.
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who also defended Trump in his first impeachment trial, was also critical of Castor’s opening statement and concluded there simply was “no argument.”
“I have no idea what he’s doing. I have no idea why he’s saying what he’s saying,” Dershowitz told Newsmax about Castor. “… “He’s introducing himself, ‘I’m a nice guy. I like my senators. I know my senators. Senators are great people.’ C’mon. The American people are entitled to an argument—a constitutional argument.”
CNN’s Kaitlyn Collins reported that Trump was “screaming” during Castor’s remarks.
His second lawyer, David Schoen, didn’t fare much better.
When it all was said and done, the Senate voted 56-44 that the impeachment trial is constitutional. 6 Republican Senators voted “Yes,” including Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mitt Romney (UT), Ben Sasse (NE) & Toomey (PA).
Meanwhile, you can check out more reactions to Castor’s opening speech below.