Trump had encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol, and later released videos repeating his false claims of election fraud, further fanning the flames as rioters swarmed the building, before eventually asking the mob to disperse, saying, “We love you, you’re very special.”
While 57 senators found former president Trump guilty of inciting the attack which left five people dead, 43 did not, meaning the vote could not reach the two-thirds majority needed. Every Democratic senator found him guilty, but only seven Republicans agreed with them, the rest of them showing they are still very much the Trump party.
Sarah Kate Ellis, the President and CEO of GLAAD, stated, “The verdict does not reflect the truth understood by a majority of Americans, that Donald Trump recklessly and maliciously directed his supporters to attack the Capitol and our democracy. The Trump administration will forever be defined by misinformation and violence, tactics the former president weaponised against LGBTQ people and other vulnerable communities before turning them loose on our government on January 6th.
“Senators voting to acquit are now and for all of history recorded for their cowardice in failing to hold the former president accountable for his lawless, destructive behavior. Let this be a turning point for our country, where we demand a return to shared core values of truth, safety and integrity to protect the least among us, especially from those chosen to lead us.”
Prior to the acquittal, GLAAD also shared the anti-LGBTQ+ stances of Republican senators who stood against the Trump impeachment. Ellis had previously explained, “The record shows a clear pattern: these senators are more interested in protecting the most powerful among us —like former President Trump— than they are in protecting the most vulnerable, including LGBTQ people and youth.”
While President Biden has overturned many controversial decisions made by the Trump presidency since coming into office, including the ban on trans people serving in the US military, the verdict shows the sway Trump still holds over Republicans. With many Trump followers proving to be firmly in the anti-LGBTQ+ camp, what this will mean for the queer community in the US remains to be seen.
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