Leaving office doesn’t mean that ex-President Trump will be escaping scrutiny for his past conduct. On Friday, as impeachment trial proceedings against Trump in the Senate continued to move forward, a plane flew in the vicinity of Mar-a-Lago with a banner reading, in all caps: “Convict Trump and lock him up!” Mar-a-Lago, the ex-president’s Palm Beach area resort, is where he’s been staying since leaving office — although the Trump family business once agreed with local authorities that no one would live on the premises full time.
Check out an image of the protest banner at Mar-a-Lago on Friday below:
All-caps banner flying over Trump’s resort in Palm Beach as his defense team begins its presentation today: “CONVICT TRUMP AND LOCK HIM UP.” pic.twitter.com/MfhDxHGLKc
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) February 12, 2021
While at Mar-a-Lago, Trump — who declined a request from House impeachment case managers to testify at his trial — has apparently been watching the proceedings closely. On Tuesday, according to CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, Trump was “basically screaming” in response to a rambling opening statement from one of his lawyers, Bruce Castor. During his remarks, which even attracted criticism from some Republican Senators, Castor praised the voice of the late Senator Everett Dirksen, spoke nostalgically about record players, reiterated to Senators how great that he thinks they are, and more. He struggled to tie his remarks to any kind of guiding central point.
Multiple people tell me Trump was basically screaming as Castor made a meandering opening argument that struggled to get at the heart of the defense team's argument.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) February 9, 2021
Although Trump’s defense lawyers for the Senate trial haven’t exactly proven themselves to be brilliant masters of the law — to say the least — convicting Trump at the conclusion of the trial is still a tall order. Because of the current party make-up of the Senate, a full 17 Republicans would have to support conviction for it to be enacted, and there’s no particular indication that 17 Republicans are even open to the idea. Among other responses to the proceedings from Senate Republicans, some have complained that it’s supposedly unconstitutional to hold a trial of a former president, but House impeachment case managers have noted that there’s no “January exception” in the Constitution that allows presidents to escape accountability for impeachable offenses if they commit the acts in question without enough time left in their tenure to hold a Senate trial.
In the Senate, there’s also the issue of the fact that a number of Republicans could be considered co-conspirators in the incitement of insurrection charge against Trump that is driving the proceedings. Trump wasn’t alone in spreading the lies about the integrity of the election that the Capitol rioters used as a pretense — Republican Senators did the same.