House managers said much at former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial last week about his supposedly failing to uphold the Constitution and allowing lawlessness to reign free.
Further, they argued, Trump should have condemned the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol quicker that afternoon to help quell it.
The lead manager, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, mentioned the Constitution in some form at least nine times in his closing and charged that Trump “failed to defend” the lawmakers.
By that same measure, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should be condemning the vandals who attacked Trump attorney Michael van der Veen’s home outside of Philadelphia on Friday night.
The right to representation is guaranteed in the Constitution in the Bill of Rights as part of a system of fundamental justice.
Because he fulfilled this function in the impeachment trial — from the Senate floor, no less — vandals smashed windows and spray-painted “TRAITOR” on the sidewalk with an arrow pointing to van der Veen’s house, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Looks like in addition to the spray painting “traitor” on the sidewalk outside his house, vandals also egged Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen’s suburban Philadelphia home Friday night. West Whiteland Police looking for info…. pic.twitter.com/h2jNHft1UG
— Jeremy Roebuck (@jeremyrroebuck) February 15, 2021
If Biden and Pelosi truly cared about the Constitution and upholding the rule of law, they should be condemning the vandalism.
It is a form of intimidation, with the subtext, “We know where you live.”
“My home was attacked. I’d rather not go into that,” he said. “To answer your question, my entire family, my business, my law firm are under siege right now. I don’t really want to go into that, though. What I’d really like to do is talk about the merits of the case.”
“I’m not a controversial guy,” van der Veen added. “I’m not politically minded, so to speak.”
“I’m a trial lawyer, and I represent people’s interests in court,” he said. “And I’m disappointed that this is the result of just me doing my job.”
The Inquirer reported that van der Veen represented a client suing the Trump administration last year over changes to the U.S. Postal Service that the attorney argued would suppress mail-in votes.
The paper quoted another former client of van der Veen as saying he came off as fairly anti-Trump.
Regarding the partisan nature of the impeachment trial, the attorney told Fox News that he would like to see the country “come into the middle.”
“It’s so polarized on the left and on the right,” van der Veen argued.
One of the main themes of Biden’s inaugural address was the importance of unity.
“For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury,” he said. “No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos.
“This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”
How hard would it be for Biden and Pelosi to say the vandalism of van der Veen’s home is unequivocally wrong?
It would likely increase the Democratic politicians’ stature in the eyes of most sane Americans.
Biden and/or Pelosi could say something to the effect of, “As much as I disagree with Trump and what he said about November’s election, fundamental fairness dictates that he needed representation during the impeachment trial. It’s what our Constitution guarantees.
“Trump’s attorneys should not be attacked for fulfilling this vital role. I condemn all vandalism and violence against them and promise any who engage in it will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
I can picture many former presidents — Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, John Kennedy, either of the Bushes and perhaps even Bill Clinton — saying something like that.
If Biden or Pelosi were to do so, it would be like rain falling on the dry desert ground of the nation’s current political discourse.
Alas, I don’t anticipate they will, based on the recent history van der Veen so powerfully highlighted in his closing argument on Saturday.
“The House managers argued this week that an alleged brief delay in issuing a public statement from Mr. Trump on Jan. 6 was somehow evidence that he committed incitement or supported the violence,” he said.
“Yet for months last year, Joe Biden, Vice President [Kamala] Harris and countless of other Democrats repeatedly refused to condemn the extreme as riots were occurring daily, as businesses were being ramshackled, as neighborhoods were being burned, as bombs were exploding,” van der Veen continued.
“They repeatedly refused to tell their violent supporters to stand down. Some even suggested that the mob’s actions were justified.”
Van der Veen noted that Harris, in fact, urged her supporters to donate money to bail out violent rioters so they could go on with their lawless conduct, as she stated they should.
While condemning the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, van der Veen questioned what lesson those rioters took from the several months leading up to it based on what they saw in the establishment media and from Democratic politicians.
“They apparently believed that violent mobs, destruction of property, rioting, assaulting police and vandalizing historic treasures was somehow now acceptable in the United States,” he said. “Where might they got, have gotten that idea?”
If Biden and Pelosi have any interest in dialing back the temperature in America and upholding constitutional norms, one small step they could take is disavowing the attack on van der Veen’s home.
But don’t hold your breath.
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