Senator Portman justified his vote to acquit Trump on the fact that he was out of office. That was not even the issue. That issue was resolved in the prior vote: a former president can be convicted and disqualified. Portman thought he was voting on the issue that was already voted on.

The framers of our Constitution did not think distinguished senators would need judge’s instructions: guilt/innocence shall be based on the facts of the case.

The issue was whether Trump incited the insurrection, not whether he was occupying the Oval Office or not. The question was whether the evidence showed that he incited insurrection. The voluminous evidence showed guilt; his defense counsel did not even refute the evidence.

Portman voted not on the merits but on the idea that he disagreed with the Constitution’s mandate for himself: that the Senate shall try “all Impeachments.” Portman violated his oath to preserve the Constitution - that disqualifies Portman from public service. He should resign now and not wait.

Wasn’t that convenient for Portman that his Republic leader Mitch McConnell had earlier rejected receiving the articles of impeachment from the House, so that time ran out on the inciter’s term of office and Portman could use his hypocritical justification?

Further, Portman states, "My decision in no way condones the president’s conduct.” Yes, it does. His vote states to all of posterity that Americans, whom he represents, do not hold Trump accountable for incitement of insurrection, that the people are okay with the president inciting insurrection, murder, destruction, injury, desecration of the Capitol, endangerment of members of Congress, and violence during the democratic transfer of power. Portman’s vote demonstrates his betrayal of the people’s desire to protect our democracy from fascists attempting a self coup.

Portman will forever be linked with condoning violent insurrection, to disgrace, dishonor, and betrayal of his oath and of the Americans he represents. Portman's hypocritical justification for his vote to acquit will not be remembered in posterity, but his betrayal of our democracy will.

Sarah Maxwell


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