When the impeachment trial of President Trump in the U.S. Senate ended with his acquittal, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine suggested that the president had now learned a lesson. Indeed, he had, he learned that he was exempt from punishment for any wrongdoing. Many of his actions since that day have been executed without regard for the truth, the Constitution or what is best for the Republican Party or the country.

Think about a child who misbehaves and receives a warning from his or her parent that if this happens again, “You will be sorry.” The child repeats the misbehavior and no punishment is forthcoming, so the child learns that he or she is free to misbehave. Now the child tests the limits of parental discipline and the misbehavior becomes more serious. If the parent does not finally intervene, criminal behavior is sure to follow.

We cannot blame the president for his actions — the fault lies with his enablers and with Speaker Pelosi. Why Pelosi? She was right to deny impeachment hearings since she knew the Republican Senate would never vote to convict. Unfortunately, she relented when the more liberal wing of her caucus demanded impeachment hearings. This led to the inevitable acquittal and the continuing presidential misbehavior.

The path of errant behavior found its way to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. After a presidential speech designed to incite Trump supporters, the Capitol was invaded for the first time since the British attack during the War of 1812. Once the building was finally cleared, supporters of the president were queried about what happened and most were proud of the patriotic actions taken by those who invaded the building, stole items, broke windows and destroyed property. What else is believed by those who find this seditious behavior patriotic?

They know that Neil Armstrong did not walk on the moon, they know that vaccinations cause autism, they know that the COVID-19 virus was created by 5G cell phone technology, and they definitely know that Donald Trump was reelected as president. Facts are irrelevant – remember the old saying, “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts.”

Finally, loyal Republicans such as Vice President Pence, Attorney General Barr, Senator Thune and Governor Kemp have learned that the president’s loyalty is one-way and based on “what have you done for me lately.” In the 19th century, there was a political party for those who believe what President Trump says. It was called the Know Nothings.

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