Former President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters in the right-wing media expressed their disappointment with the former president’s impeachment defense on Tuesday. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reports, “Trump was basically screaming as Castor” during his opening argument, “according to multiple people.”
Leading up to the trial, Steve Bannon and his allies were pushing for the president to pivot his defense strategy away from jurisdiction and process arguments in favor of conspiracy theories about the presidential election results.
With Trump’s attorneys for the moment taking a different approach, Bannon and his lackeys attacked them. Former Breitbart staffer Raheem Kassam said “winning doesn’t ring any bells” and described the defense as “lackluster.” Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec suggested Trump’s lawyers did not put forth their “A-game” because “this is 8 mile”, referring to the semi-fictionalized movie about the rough and tumble origins of rapper Eminem’s career.
During a live stream, bigoted YouTuber Steven Crowder mocked Trump lawyer Bruce Castor at length, asking at one point, “can somebody storm the building just to take him out of there?” One co-host told Castor to “shut up” and said “you suck.”
Crowder also tweeted, “Bruce Castor Jr's speech feels similar to if a Chinese military war leader jammed a rod of glass up my urethra and smashed it with a hammer.”
On Newsmax, Jeffrey Epstein lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who represented Trump in his first impeachment trial, attacked Castor’s opening: “There is no argument. I have no idea what he is doing. I have no idea why he is saying what he is saying.” Matt Gaetz, who offered to resign his seat in congress to represent Trump during the trial, called Dershowitz’s appearance an “explosive interview” on Twitter.
Fox News personalities were also unimpressed with Bruce Castor.
Mark Steyn, a frequent Fox guest hosting the 7 p.m. EST hour of Fox, said Castor was “drifting, rambling aimlessly on [with] no constitutional argument.”
While talking to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), prime-time host Sean Hannity said that Castor’s performance showed “a little bit of a weak start, “and that he was “not being critical,” but it sounded “just a little lackluster, meandering to me.” Later, while hosting another Trump impeachment lawyer David Schoen, Hannity repeated the sentiment.
And during the toss between his show and The Ingraham Angle, Laura Ingraham blasted Castor as “terrible” and said, “If you hired that guy in a case that you’re paying the bills on, you would have been like -- I’m sure you’re a nice person, but enough praise for the Democrats.”
Schoen and Castor’s performance caused Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to switch his vote on whether to go ahead with impeachment, having previously voted against it. When asked why he switched, Cassidy said, “Did you listen to it? OK then. It speaks for itself." Several other U.S. Senators expressed their confusion and dismay at the approach taken by Castor and Schoen, including Cruz , Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).
Update (2/10/21): The piece has been updated with examples from Fox News’ prime-time shows.