Hours before the actual second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began, the hashtag #ConvictAndDisqualifyTrump was among many that took off on Twitter – suggesting in part that the battle lines have been firmly drawn.
This came as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged Senate Republicans to listen to the evidence introduced by House impeachment managers.
“Those who say ‘let’s move on, that brings unity,’ are false,” Schumer suggested. “When you had such a serious invasion of the Capitol. Incited by a president, who we know … told people the election was false, told people to come to Washington, urged people to march to the Capitol. When you have such a serious charge, sweeping it under the rug will not bring unity. It will keep the sore open, the wounds open.”
Already it seems that there are those who agree that unity will require conviction.
Author John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) offered the sentiment, “‘America Doesn’t Need Unity With Hatred'” and showed a map that suggested, “if you refuse to prosecute terrorists… stop talking about unity.”
While a strong message from Pavlovitz, it failed to address the issue that the loudest calls for “unity” have actually come from President Joe Biden, who had made it a core message even before taking office. Likewise, the calls for unity that came from the left largely only came after Biden’s victory. So it might be viewed as a disingenuous point to make that the side “talking about unity” opposes Trump’s conviction.
And while Schumer has called for Senate Republicans to listen to evidence before making judgment, those who opposed the former president have heard all the evidence they needed.
This was certainly true of a number of celebrities.
Among those was self-proclaimed “The People’s Diva” singer Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) who tweeted, “Why do any #Republicans even WANT #Trump to be able to run again? Don’t they want their OWN shot at getting in and f—king up the country? Why give up all that glory? #ConvictAndDisqualifyTrump”
As the trial began it wasn’t the evidence that was addressed, but what Trump’s defense team, lead by Bruce Castor, had to say.
Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) called out Trump’s defense team on Tuesday afternoon and their choice of words, “Trumps defense seems to be tossing word salad.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (@maddow) pondered, “Is Mr. Cast just… ad libbing?”
Very Partisan Issue
Many in the ranks of the GOP also took to social media, not as much to defend Mr. Trump’s actions, but to call out the proceedings.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) (@JohnCorny) tweeted, “So this is the real goal of impeaching a former president, now a private citizen?: ‘they’re going to exact as much pain as possible on Republicans'”
Fox News TV host Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) didn’t defend Trump’s actions and on Tuesday instead reposted comments made by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on how to confront conservatives.
It didn’t take long for many users on social media to suggest that was a false equivalency because no one appeared to have directly acted on Waters’ calls to confront Trump supporters.
Likewise, many Democrat lawmakers have continued to share video clips of then President’s Trump’s speech and the moments leading up to the Capitol Building riot.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) (@RepMcGovern) suggested “You want to see what a high crime and misdemeanor looks like? Here. This is it. Don’t look away.”
The issue is whether the partisanship seen on social media actually translates into how Americans feel about the second impeachment trial of former President Trump. Followers on social media would likely believe that based on the comments posted that the nation is arm in arm in agreement – with those aforementioned conservative voices not actually speaking for even a large minority of Americans.
However, on Tuesday according to post by The Hill (@thehill) a new poll found that 53 percent of Americans do support the second Trump impeachment.
Not surprisingly, that number was met by dismay on social media. Some mocked it – suggesting “the other 47% are in jail” while another comment found the number to be low.
And yet others saw that the support for the trial is actually on the decline.
Given such numbers, it must be questioned then whether Sen. Schumer actually believes that the trial will bring the unity he expects. The issue is that it is clear that a loud and vocal majority is on social media supporting the impeachment trial, while in fact many who are opposed or at least indifferent, simply aren’t taking to social media. This has in itself created an echo chamber – which is why the calls for unity aren’t being heard, and likely won’t be anytime soon.