Ahead of the conclusion of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial Saturday, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the lead House impeachment manager, made a powerful appeal to the Senate to convict the former president.
Throughout the trial, Raskin interspersed his case with personal testimony about how the insurrection affected him and his family — particularly given that it occurred shortly after the December death of his son, Thomas Raskin. And on Saturday, Raskin again invoked his family in a final, emotional plea to senators.
The manager spoke of the concern his daughter, Hannah Raskin, has had for the children of the insurrectionists — and argued that it was for those children that senators should vote to convict.
“Hannah saw through the legality of the situation, she saw through the politics of the situation, all the way to the humanity of the situation, the morality of the situation,” Raskin said. “As Tommy Raskin used to say, ‘It’s hard to be human.’”
Rep. Jamie Raskin invokes man who reportedly said goodbye to his children before traveling to D.C. for Trump protest at the Capitol: "That shook me...The children of the insurrectionists—even the violent and dangerous ones—they're our children, too."https://t.co/9KBlqDPsGF pic.twitter.com/iDjI848rUh— ABC News (@ABC) February 13, 2021
He went on to say, “The children of the insurrectionists, even the violent and dangerous ones, they’re our children, too. They are Americans and we must take care of them and their future.”
The argument underscored the manager’s overarching point: That conviction was needed not just to ensure Trump could be blocked from running for office again, but to send a message to future presidents that attempts — like Trump’s — to overturn an election cannot and will not be tolerated.
And Raskin explicitly offered senators an opportunity to make such a statement — the manager also drew on a quote by Thomas Paine, who he said his son was named for, before ending his remarks:
None of us can escape the demands of history and destiny right now. Our reputations and our legacy will be inextricably intertwined with what we do here, and with how you exercise your oath to do impartial justice. Impartial justice. I know and trust you will do impartial justice, driven by meticulous attention to the overwhelming facts of the case and your love for our Constitution, which I know dwells in your heart. ‘The times have found us,’ said Tom Paine, the namesake of my son. The times have found us. Is this America? What kind of America will this be? It’s now literally in your hands. Godspeed to the Senate of the United States.
Ultimately, Raskin’s appeal didn’t sway enough votes for the Senate to convict Trump — just seven Republican senators joined every Democrat in voting to convict him, falling short of the necessary 67 votes needed for conviction. But the raw emotion of Raskin’s appeal to “impartial justice” and to his son’s memory was a heartbreaking moment in a trial where the verdict was widely, and accurately, believed to be predetermined from the beginning.
“This trial is personal indeed for every senator, and for every member of the House,” Raskin said Tuesday. “I hope this trial reminds America how personal democracy is, and how personal is the loss of democracy too.”