Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial defense did not get off to a good start.
Bruce Castor, the attorney who delivered the opening argument for the defense, baffled viewers across the political spectrum with an incoherent, rambling speech that was criticized across the board.
Castor spent the beginning of his address buttering up senators as “extraordinary people” and praising the Democratic impeachment managers for their “outstanding presentation,” noting that no member of Trump’s defense would voice anything but condemnation for the Jan. 6 riots his client is accused of inciting.
The attorney went on to discuss the history of ancient Greece and Rome, the importance of free speech and a number of other topics, spending relatively little time addressing constitutional arguments or Trump’s behavior. He concluded by arguing that Trump should not be convicted and barred from holding future office because the American people already made a choice to remove him by voting him out.
Castor’s client, whose monthslong refusal to accept his election loss led to the insurrection, ostensibly does not agree with that remark. Trump was reportedly very displeased with the performance.
Trump’s allies, too, were aghast. Attorney Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump’s defense team in his first impeachment trial, said, “There is no argument. I have no idea what he’s doing.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), one of 44 Republicans who voted to toss the impeachment trial out, told a reporter that Castor “just rambled on and on.” Numerous right-wing personalities also criticized his performance.
And on Twitter, the movie “My Cousin Vinny” ― a comedy about an inexperienced lawyer’s attempt to defend his cousins in a murder trial ― was trending following the address.
Comedian Blaire Erskine promptly released a parody video.
See some of the other commentary below.