Stripped of specific context, Thursday's events in Washington were remarkable. Ninety-nine U.S. senators — Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe was absent, dealing with a loved one's medical emergency — swore an oath promising to impartially weigh whether President Donald Trump's conduct merits his being removed from office.
It's historic, only the third time in history the U.S. Senate will consider throwing a president out of the White House. It's serious, solemn stuff, or at least it would be, if not for that pesky, specific context. It's tough to take any of this seriously because everyone, everyone, knows exactly how Trump's trial is going to go.
Texas, thanks to one of the Constitution's many anti-democratic quirks, has two members on the president's jury, just like Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Those jurors, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, are approaching their task with about as much solemnity as a cat approaching a canary.
Cornyn, up for reelection in 2020, followed a path many up-for-election Republicans are taking and attempted to raise cash and mine a little data by showing his undying support for Dear Leader.
It’s official - President Trump is headed to trial in the Senate. Will you show that you have the president’s back by sending him a personal note of support? https://t.co/KRwNOgctlJ— Team Cornyn (@TeamCornyn) January 16, 2020
Cruz's reaction to the process has been a little more fun, and a lot more head-scratching. Repeatedly over the last 36 hours, Texas' junior senator has stressed that he's going to do everything in his power to ensure that Trump's Senate trial is fair, before giving the game away in his next sentence or tweet.
Senate should do its job quickly. I look forward to reviewing the evidence, voting on these facially-deficient Articles & continuing to deliver on promises made to the American people, like securing our border, reducing federal regulations & creating more economic opportunities.— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 15, 2020
Does a man who's already evaluated the articles of impeachment sent to the Senate by the U.S. House as "facially-deficient" sound like one ready to impartially evaluate the evidence?
GOOD NEWS AMERICA! @SpeakerPelosi's partisan #impeachment circus is done. The farce is over. It’s time for the Senate to conduct a fair #ImpeachmentTrial – one that follows precedent, respects due process, & allows @realDonaldTrump to defend himself.pic.twitter.com/L3ifCUm7hY— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 16, 2020
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There's even a video version made on the Capitol subway, if that's your thing.
TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: This is the beginning of the end of the abuse of the Constitution. The Senate will provide a fair trial for @realDonaldTrump. #impeachment #ArticlesOfImpeachment #ImpeachmentTrial #senate #SenateImpeachmentTrial pic.twitter.com/Rp82D2igmN— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 16, 2020
One side of Cruz's mouth says "fair trial" and the other, again, says that Trump can't be convicted because he hasn't engaged in any criminal activity.
Trump's Senate trial resumes Tuesday. Cornyn and Cruz will be there, for what reason we don't know.