This engraving depicts the 1793 trial of Citizen Louis Capet. He had been stripped of his
title, King Louis XVI, by those who presumed to judge him. The image, the event, seems relevant on contemplating the looming impeachment trial of Citizen Trump. After the failure of Congress to pause the counting of Electoral votes to permit due process in the contested states, we may see that President Trump was also stripped of his title by those who now presume to judge him.
Louis' trial ended infamously in regicide by guillotine. However much baying there is for Trump's head, such a remedy lies beyond Senate recourse. On conviction of impeachment, the sentence is removal from office. Donald Trump may have won re-election, but he has no office. Such a sentence, then, would seem to be an exercise in futility, only revolutionaries don't have time for futility.
There are two forms of regicide, according to research by Meagan Montanari, author of an interesting essay titled "The Good King: Louis XVI as a Religious Figure and Martyr."
The first type is basically that of a usurper, only wanting to kill the current king so that he can take over the throne for himself. This first type leaves the monarchy in place, never thinking of the possibility of doing away with it.
The second type was inaugurated, so to speak, by Oliver Cromwell at the execution of Charles I of England. Cromwell wanted not only the king, but also the crown to be brought to the scaffold. This was the type of regicide that sought to abolish the monarchy altogether.
Might we might think of these monarchies and this presidency as established orders abolished by revolutionaries? Like Cromwell, then, Biden and Harris (and Pelosi) are not acting as mere usurpers who seized powers illegitimately in order to wield those same powers. Figuratively or other, they are also leading or joining assaults to overturn the old order, targeting for destruction the First Amendment, the Second Amendment. the Electoral College, state's rights, due process, while making open warfare on the existence of political opposition generally. In other words, these leaders of branches of government, then, have not simply seized control to guide the previously existing government; they are simultaneously transforming that previously existing government. In earlier centuries, this impulse ended in regicide and Terror, the end of monarchy and the imposition of Leftist dictatorship; today, along with the nullification of the second Trump term, our republican institutions are perishing and there is terror in the land among their supporters. And arrests. Many arrests. And de-platforming. And un-personning. And harassments and punishments on widening, deepening levels.
Then there is the uncanny fact of how "on message" Robespierre's rhetoric against "Citizen Capet" would sound today on CNN and across establishment Party politics against "Citizen Trump." As Peter Baggins sums up in "The Legacy of the Left, Then and Now," Robespierre argued the King must die so the nation might live. How many times have we heard that Trump must be destroyed, and, further, that "Trump cultists" must be "deprogrammed" ?
Baggins continued: "Without trial, Louis XVI was voted guilty of conspiracy and attacks upon public safety by the Convention and sentenced to death by guillotine."
"Guilty of conspiracy" and "attacks on the public safety" might as well be charges in President Trump's article of impeachment.
As for the black-masked House Managers, including the extra-odious Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose affair with a Chinese spy carries Nancy Pelosi's tacit approval: You know they wish they were taking their indictment to Madame La Guillotine instead.
This column originally appeared on DianaWest.net, the website of our friend Diana West, and is reposted here with the author’s permission. Ms. West is the author of two must read books, American Betrayal and The Death of the Grown-Up.
removal from office