As a conservative voter, I have never been a Never-Trumper and though I have also never been a Donald Trump fan, I recognize he brought a much-needed shake-up to the GOP.
But Trump's grotesque post-election behavior made me realize that the Never-Trumpers were more correct than I previously thought. Trump's words and actions regarding the Jan. 6 atrocity merited impeachment and conviction. It gives me no pleasure to conclude this, but had a Democratic president done the same things, I would feel the same way.
I am also proud of Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, for his vote to convict Trump. It was a brave call.
My most recent book, "Live Not By Lies," is about the lessons contemporary Americans can learn from the experiences of Christian dissidents under Soviet rule. The most difficult thing, but the most necessary thing, was to stand up for the truth, no matter what it cost.
Relatively few people managed to do it, but they kept their honor. I think Cassidy took the true measure of Trump and delivered a truthful verdict. I hope he wears his censure by the Louisiana GOP as a badge of honor.
Attorney General Jeff Landry blamed Cassidy for falling into a “trap laid by Democrats to have Republicans attack Republicans.” I remind Landry that principle is more important than party and truth matters more than tribe.
Besides, the reason we have a Democratic-controlled Senate today is because Trump attacked Georgia Republicans and convinced enough of his voters to stay home in the runoff as a Trump loyalty test. Trump continues to hold the GOP hostage with his threats to start a third party. Trump is tearing apart the GOP, not Cassidy and the GOP senators who voted to hold him accountable.
I am glad Trump re-oriented the GOP towards an adversarial stance to China, started no new wars and opened the ideological doors to a more populist, pro-working-class economics. I am thrilled by his judicial appointments and his defense of unborn life.
But his inability to discipline himself and focus on policy made his presidency one of lost promise. I eagerly await the rise of Republican leaders who can build on the new directions pioneered by Trump.
It is ironic that for the best of Trumpism to succeed in the future, the GOP needs to cut itself off from Trump, an amoral narcissist who disgraced himself, the presidency and his party. I am confident history will vindicate the stance for truth and honor taken by Cassidy and the six other GOP senators.
senior editor, The American Conservative