Jean-Jacques Cornish

Americans will never be able to say they did not know about Donald Trump’s incitement to insurrection

The result of the Senate trial of twice impeached United States President Donald Trump was a foregone conclusion.

The vast majority of Republicans in the upper house were too scared of Trump’s violent mob to vote their consciences.

Only seven broke ranks. That meant a majority 57-43 of Senators found Trump guilty of inciting insurrection.

That is ten votes short of constitutionally required two thirds majority – a bar that has never been reached in US history.

Republic leader in the Senate Mitch Mc Connell found Trump guilty of a disgraceful dereliction of duty and declared him practically and morally responsible for provoking the shocking events of January 6 when his followers breached Congressional  security, vandalized the premises and wandered the corridors of power yelling death threats against members both Republican and Democrat in a vain attempt to stop certification of the Presidential election.

Booted off social media sites for repeatedly lying about a fraudulent election and inciting violence by his followers, Trump has been mercifully silent.

He may remain a force within the Republican Party, but it will be a diminishing one.

Analysts concur that the majority of Republicans now want to see the back of him.

A guilty vote by the Senate would have prevented him from running again as President.

Political reality will see to that.

A Trump candidacy in 2004 would effectively guarantee a Democratic win.

This will become increasingly apparent in the weeks and months ahead when, as McConnell says, the criminal justice system can deal with Trump.

So moving him aside could have been achieved without impeaching him.

Why then go through the time-consuming process exactly when President Joe Biden needed to complete setting up his administration and deal with the pressing issues of fighting the COVID pandemic and fixing the economic ruin left by Trump?

It was a moral and legal imperative. As members on both sides of the aisle said, if Trump’s inciting insurrection is not grounds for impeachment, what is?

It is also a radically important historic step to take after such unprecedented evil.

Some Republicans made theatrical shows of disregarding the case being made against Trump. 

Nevertheless they were obliged to be in the Senate to hear it.

Like the Nuremberg Trials in Germany and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission proceedings in South Africa, it was uncomfortable and painful to hear.

But it ensured that the people cannot plead ignorance.

They know exactly what happened.

The difference is that Nuremberg happened after the Nazi defeat and the TRC was a logical consequence of apartheid being vanquished.

The Trump impeachment happened with his violent supporters still menacing his opponents.

They pose an existential threat to democracy in the world’s most powerful country.

It means they must be pursued with greater vigilance.No

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.