By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
Republicans have steadfastly sided with President Donald Trump on impeachment and most other issues, perhaps out of fear that they might wind up sleeping – politically – with the fishes.
At least that’s how Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) views the otherwise hard-to-explain loyalty Republicans have displayed toward the president.
Moments after meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to discuss a Senate impeachment trial, Schumer was asked whether he believed the GOP has a “Don Corleone-like” fear of the president.
“I have never seen anything like this,” Schumer said. “What motivates these Republicans to just circle the wagons? And, whatever this president says, who is known for having a low moral character, who is known for not telling the truth, why do they rally around him?
“When I talk to a good number of them privately, they know how bad this guy is. But, there’s one reason they rally around him: Fear.”
Schumer chuckled when asked, “What, is he (Trump) the Godfather… Corleone here?” His reply: “Politically speaking, he probably is.”
Dividing along party lines, the House last week (Dec. 18) impeached Trump, making him just the third president in U.S. history to face impeachment. Richard Nixon resigned during the impeachment process.
Since the impeachment vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would withhold sending the case to the Senate until Democrats and Republicans can reach a consensus on how a Senate trial would take place. If the Senate votes to convict Trump, he would be removed from office.
McConnell and other Republicans have said there’s no chance they’d convict the president.
“When you have a president who overreaches, the founding fathers put a few tools or checks on him, but the biggest and most important most serious and solemn check is impeachment,” said Schumer. “And, if the president goes off the rails, the Founding Fathers said the Congress has the ability to remove him.”
The House voted in favor of two articles of impeachment against Trump, obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.
Schumer said the Founding Fathers listed their top fear as being a president who overreaches his authority and that he would get a foreign government to interfere in the U.S. election.
“That’s what this is all about,” Schumer said. “So, conducting an impeachment trial in the Senate is a weighty and solemn responsibility and we Democrats in the Senate believe that the trial must be fair and it’s important to let the American people judge it to be fair.”
A fair trial, Schumer detailed is when the Senate hears all the evidence and can decide the case impartially. And the only way to accomplish that is with witnesses and documents, he asserted.
Schumer said the African-American community especially understands the value of a fair trial.
“The African-American community knows when you don’t have fairness and you don’t have democracy, people with little power get the short end of the stick,” he said.
An ABC News poll revealed that 71 percent of Americans expect a fair Senate trial and believe that Trump should allow his top aides to testify. Approximately 64 percent of Republicans agreed, as well as 72 percent of independents, and 79 percent of Democrats.
“We believe when these (Republican) senators go home to their constituents, they will ask them why don’t you want to have witnesses and documents,” said Schumer, applauding seven members of Congress who voted in favor of impeachment despite the potential political risks.
“I have such respect for the seven members of Congress, all of whom served in the military or the CIA. They said what motivated them to serve the country is motivating them to go forward even if they lose the election …”
Declaring that Trump has overreached more than any other president, Schumer said impeachment would be rendered impotent if there is no fair trial and the president can withhold documents and witnesses.
In the wake of such a development, “This president will do even worse things, and the next president will do even worse things,” said Schumer. “So it’s really our democracy that motivates us.”
Asked if there is anything Democrats, who are the minority in the Senate, could do to ensure that the trial would not be a rubberstamp proclaiming Trump’s innocence, Schumer said he’s hoping some Republicans will change their minds and allow testimony from witnesses and to include documents.
“All we need is four (GOP) votes – because all 47 (Democrats) will be ours – to get to that magic number 51. And, if we get 51, we’ll get the witnesses. So I hope your readers, if they agree with us, will talk to their senators, especially Republican senators.”
Schumer praised the African-American community for its awareness about the importance of impeachment.
“Thank god the African-American community has become very mobilized in New York and around the country because they know of the dangers Donald Trump presents to the African-American community in so many different ways,” he said.
“Reaching out (to their respective Senators) would be important. …I urge them to do it if they believe in the future of America. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends in the direction of justice.’ All we’re seeking here is justice.” said Schumer.
(Stacy Brown is a Follow NNPA senior Correspondent Stacy Brown @StacyBrownMedia.)