Schumer announced the news on the Senate floor Friday morning, telling lawmakers that he was in discussions with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on how long the trial will last and when it will begin. “But make no mistake, a trial will be held in the United States Senate, and there will be a vote whether to convict the president,” Schumer told the Senate.
Then, something special happened: It was Schumer’s next line in his address to US senators that caused a much-needed laugh for some, if not a moment of (humble) embarrassment for the Senate Majority Leader. “When that trial ends, senators will have to decide whether they believe Donald John Trump incited the erection — insurrection — against the United States.” It was an unfortunate, yet hilarious, gaffe in the very serious matter of convicting a former president on charges of inciting the violent siege of the US Capitol. But it was the gaffe we all needed after a very serious week.
In seriousness, Schumer is currently in talks with McConnell to solidify a start date for the trial after receiving a proposal from the Senate Minority Leader requesting to start the trial on February 13. But Schumer reportedly rejected McConnell’s last-minute request and is attempting to push forward with the trial. Whether or not both parties ultimately agree on whether to push the start date back, sources told CNN the articles will be read and senators and the presiding officer will be sworn in Tuesday afternoon.
The House voted to impeach the former president on January 13, just one week before President Joe Biden was inaugurated on the 20th. While Trump is no longer a sitting president, the Senate now has an opportunity to make sure he will never again be legally allowed to become president, after encouraging his supporters to overthrow the 2020 election results by force.
While Schumer was noticeably embarrassed by his “erection” comment, it was also a moment of levity that many people needed on this first Friday in Joe Biden’s America. And for that, we thank him.