- - Sunday, December 22, 2019

The contrast couldn’t be more stark: The crashing crescendo of political conflict culminating in the jarring impeachment of President Trump just as Americans begin to tie up the loose ends of the waning year and harken to the calming strains of “Silent Night.”

“For everything there is a season,” it is written, “and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Christmastide is the season of peace, not war, and tone-deaf Democrats armed with pitchfork and torch are marching out of step with the music of the moment.

Angry indignation echoes across Capitol Hill in response to last week’s historic votes in the House of Representatives, where Democrats succeeded in passing articles of impeachment that accuse Mr. Trump of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. Outmanned on the opposing side of the aisle, Republicans were twice outscored — 229-198 and 230-197, respectively.

The president’s determined detractors have turned logic inside out and backward, though, contending he defiled his office when he simply tried to find out whether there was a Ukrainian tie-in to the scurrilous Trump-Russia collusion hoax, and whether any evidentiary threads led to dealings by Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in Ukraine with a reportedly corrupt energy company.

Democrats who denied the president equitable opportunity to defend himself during a series of House hearings — some secret — now unapologetically complain that their charges might not be handled fairly by the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who recently called Mr. Trump an “imposter,” has balked at forwarding her party’s handiwork to her Republican Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell, labeling him a “rogue leader” and demanding he produce plans guaranteeing a “fair trial” in the upper chamber. Until he does, she vows to withhold the articles and put off the Senate faceoff indefinitely.



Mr. Trump, assuredly, would be satisfied if Mrs. Pelosi kept her scheme for removing him from office locked in her desk forever. Fairness, by her reckoning, is something for me, but not for thee. On the day his trial comes to pass, she would expect the president to show up for his prosecution carrying the rope with which his enemies intend to hang him, figuratively.

Democrats are demanding that the Senate trial feature a fresh crop of White House witnesses, including Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who they hope have first-hand knowledge of alleged presidential misbehavior. It’s a stretch, but desperation to find some sort of damning information may signal the speaker’s concern for her own neck.

Rising to his own defense, Mr. Trump matched the House impeachment debacle with his own spectacle, holding a raucous campaign event simultaneously in the aptly named Battle Creek, Michigan, daring Democrats determined to undo his presidency to stand and deliver: “The Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!” he tweeted following the Wednesday night vote.

At this time of year, Americans join billions of Christians around the world in celebrating the birth of Christ as the joyous moment that the divine was made manifest for the benefit of all humanity. The emotion of the day has engendered a tradition of mortal enemies laying down arms for a brief Christmas truce. During World War I, British, French and German soldiers left their trenches and met on common ground to exchange greetings and food to the strains of multilingual caroling. If only current battle lines in Washington were as accommodating.

To be sure, Republicans have disrupted the seasonal pageant of peace with their own harsh political operation in the past, voting to impeach Bill Clinton on the cusp of Christmas, Dec. 19, 1998. The results were regrettable: Within a year, 57 percent of respondents to a CNN/USA Today poll approved of the Senate’s refusal to remove him from office, and two-thirds concluding that his impeachment was a harmful act.

Filling the nation’s stocking with coal at Christmas proved a Scrooge-like act then. But while the wizened miser of the Dickens tale grasped the error of his miserable ways, Democrats appear poised to repeat the mistake of their Republican counterparts. Since the start of House hearings in October, support for the president’s impeachment and removal from office has dwindled 6 percentage points, according to Gallup.

Expecting Americans to squelch the yuletide spirit of love to join in a song of war upon the president is a foolish Christmas wish.

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