The responses from U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to the insurrection at the Capitol are dangerously weak.
Mitch McConnell has admitted Trump's lies provoked the attack. Liz Cheney has acknowledged that Trump invited, incited and sent the mob to prevent the conclusion of his electoral defeat. By contrast, Grassley and Ernst ignore Trump's responsibility. Their silence amplifies Trump's lies.
Grassley muses whether an ex-president can be impeached, even though Trump's second impeachment is an accomplished fiat, and only the Senate trial remains. Ernst airily wonders why an ex-president should be impeached.
Ernst has compared the insurrection to some broken windows in a few Black Lives Matter demonstrations. She confuses shattered glass to a shattered democracy.
As for Grassley's quibble, precedent shows the Senate can convict an ex-president. So does principle. A trial is not aborted because the accused can no longer commit crimes.
Both ignore the fact that after he sent the mob to sack the Capitol, Trump watched, Nero-like, and did nothing, a brazen violation of his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
Acquitting Trump would entice the next demagogue — maybe Trump again — who loses an election. Hitler's first coup attempt failed, too.
Grassley and Ernst cannot ignore that Trump did not assure a peaceful transition until violence — which he incited — had failed.