As much as the trial is about history, the implications are just as powerful in the present moment. Leaders in capitals across the world are watching what happens in Washington to assess whether the U.S. remains committed to democratic principles. Steadfast American allies, including Germany and the United Kingdom, expressed shock at the insurrection.
U.S. foes seized on the violence to say that the United States could not now lecture others on the sanctity of democracy.
“American democracy is obviously limping on both feet,” Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said after the riot. “America no longer charts a course and therefore has lost all rights to set it — and even more so to impose it on others.”
It’s telling that Republicans aren’t going into the trial with a robust defense of Trump. Few are publicly defending his behavior in the runup to the insurrection, whether it’s his baseless insistence that the election was “stolen” or his more specific — and troubling — calls to supporters to rally on his behalf.