Donald Trump's impeachment defense team offered as evidence video clips of Johnny Depp and Madonna.
On the third day of Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial on the charge of inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, his attorneys mounted a defense which included a video featuring clips of Madonna and Johnny Depp making comments they depicted as violent.
Trump's defense team attempted to prove that Democratic lawmakers incited violence during the summer's Black Lives Matter protests after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.
Defense attorneys played a video montage of clips of Democratic lawmakers making comments about Trump that they characterized as threatening, falsely equating these remarks with Trump's fomenting of the violence at the Capitol.
But amid clips of President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and others, Trump's attorneys also included clips of Johnny Depp and Madonna allegedly encouraging violence against Trump.
The video featured decontextualized clips of Depp in June 2017 saying, "When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?" as well as Madonna, in a speech at the Women's March on Washington in January 2017, saying, "I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House."
Depp later apologized for his remark in a statement to People Magazine, noting it was a "bad joke" and "in poor taste."
Madonna also clarified her comment, claiming it was taken out of context and that she did not "promote violence."
"I spoke in metaphor and I shared two ways of looking at things — one was to be hopeful, and one was to feel anger and outrage, which I have personally felt," she said. "However, I know that acting out of anger doesn’t solve anything. And the only way to change things for the better is to do it with love."
It's not the first time Republicans have tried to blame unrelated Hollywood figures for the attack on the Capitol in an effort to exonerate Trump.
During Trump's House impeachment proceedings in January, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), blamed Madonna as well as Kathy Griffin and Robert de Niro for the Capitol attack, chiding his congressional colleagues for failing to censure the pop figures.
Of the Capitol insurrectionists, Buck said:
They were frustrated when members of this House spoke over and over about impeaching the President days into his administration. And then the socialists in Hollywood joined their allies in Congress. Robert De Niro said that he wanted to punch the president in the face. Madonna thought about blowing up the White House. Kathy Lee Griffin held up a likeness of the President's beheaded head, and nothing was heard and nothing was said by my colleagues at that point in time.
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ) tweeted about Buck's argument later. "During impeachment debate one of my republican colleagues just ranted about Robert De Niro, Madonna, and Kathy Griffin saying mean things about trump," he wrote. "He did this to defend trump’s insurrection. I wish I were making that up. This is the republican party."
Republican claims that Democrats have never condemned violence by left-wing organizations or groups have been widely disproven.
But blaming Madonna and Depp for the Capitol uprising was just one of several questionable arguments made by Trump's defense team Friday, who have allegedly been assisted by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Mike Lee (R-UT).
The defense also claimed Friday that impeaching Trump for fomenting violence amounted to "constitutional cancel culture," and that the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was "clearly" not an insurrection.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.