Rubio: Democrats are just putting on a 'show' by holding Trump accountable

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Rubio is one of a number of Senate Republicans saying Trump is the real victim of the violence at the Capitol.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Tuesday previewed his reasoning for not voting to convict Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, saying Trump is the victim of a revenge plot by Democrats — and not at all to blame for the attack that led to five deaths.

"Waste of time impeachment isn't about accountability. It's about demands from vengeance from the radical left. And a new 'show' for the 'Political Entertainment Industry," Rubio tweeted Tuesday morning.

Rubio's argument mirrors the excuses other Republicans are making ahead of Trump's second impeachment trial. These excuses make it look less and less likely that there are 17 Republican votes to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection.

"This impeachment is nothing more than political theater," Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) tweeted Tuesday morning. "The Democrats are confusing the U.S. Capitol, where we should be helping the American people, with another big white building in DC that specializes in theater and shows…. the Kennedy Center. It's time to get back to work."

Other Republicans, like Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky, say they are plotting to try to end the trial before it even starts.

"I will work with other like-minded Republican senators to challenge the constitutionality of this vindictive #impeachment trial before it begins," Johnson tweeted on Tuesday, using the same argument that impeachment is about revenge, rather than holding Trump accountable for inciting a failed coup attempt. 

Meanwhile, Nikki Haley, Trump's former ambassador to the United Nations, painted Trump as the victim of the insurrection, telling Laura Ingraham that Democrats need to, "Give the man a break."

Democrats, however, say it doesn't matter that Trump is no longer in office.

They say he incited a violent insurrection — which experts say could have been far more deadly had it not been for the quick thinking of a few Capitol Police officers — and that there needs to be accountability for his actions.

"We need truth and accountability for Donald Trump's actions. His impeachment trial will move forward in the United States Senate," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that aired Monday night.

Republicans are on the wrong side of popular opinion as they defend Trump.

Multiple polls have found that a majority of Americans support convicting Trump. A Politico/Morning Consult poll from Jan. 19 found 55% support convicting Trump, while a Monmouth University poll from Monday found 56% support Trump's conviction.

House Democrats delivered the single article of impeachment against Trump for inciting an insurrection to the Senate Monday night, with a trial slated to start the week of Feb. 8.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.