Donald Trump Jr.. said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday that the push to impeach former President Donald Trump is both a waste of time and a partisan effort that reflects a double standard.
Trump Jr. said that the urgency of the pandemic suggests other legislative priorities should take precedence over a second push to impeach his father.
“Aren’t we in the middle of a pandemic?” Trump Jr. said. “I thought that these senators would maybe have something better to do. Maybe they would actually fight for the American people, for a change. Maybe they would actually get to the business of helping us through this pandemic.”
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have publicly stated that they want a speedy trial, as the Senate cannot move forward with its legislative priorities until the trial is complete.
The trial will kick off on Wednesday at around 1 p.m., with six Republicans on Tuesday voting to go ahead with the trial, joining all members of the Democrats caucus in saying it is constitutional.
Trump Jr., in remarks to Hannity, denounced what he called a “double standard” in the impeachment push, arguing that his father’s rhetoric, which Democrats argue amounted to “incitement of insurrection,” was much the same as fiery stump speeches delivered by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
“You sort of highlighted all the hypocrisy that we saw during 10 months of rioting, looting, arson, in-your-face type of politics,” Trump Jr. said. “Candidly, whatever my father said on January 6th was mild in comparison, but if you were to take his speech and compare it to literally any stump speech ever given in the history of politics, you would see absolutely no deviation.”
“If it wasn’t for double standards, the Democrats would have no standards at all,” Trump Jr. said.
While Trump said in his Jan. 6 speech that “we fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” the former president called on supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard during the joint session of Congress and later denounced the day’s violence.
Trump’s lawyers insist in filings that the former president is not guilty on the sole charge of “incitement of insurrection,” calling his rhetoric in the Jan. 6 speech a mere figure of speech.
“Trump used the word ‘fight’ a little more than a handful of times and each time in the figurative sense that has long been accepted in public discourse when urging people to stand and use their voices to be heard on matters important to them; it was not and could not be construed to encourage acts of violence,” they argued in the filing.
The lawyers also contend that the incitement of insurrection charge against Trump is grossly exaggerated.
“An insurrection—unlike a riot—is an organized movement acting for the express purpose to overthrow and take possession of a government’s powers,” they wrote, contending that Trump’s speech “was not an act encouraging an organized movement to overthrow the United States government.”
The Democrat impeachment managers have pushed back against the argument that Trump was exercising his First Amendment rights.
“The House did not impeach President Trump because he expressed an unpopular political opinion. It impeached him because he wilfully incited violent insurrection against the government,” they argued in their own filings.
Last month, the House voted 232–197, including 10 Republicans, to impeach Trump on the sole charge of inciting an insurrection.
Trump’s acquittal in the Senate, however, is near certain as 17 Republicans would have to join all Democrats in voting to convict.