Today, the United States Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of the charge of incitement of insurrection following his second impeachment trial. Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) issued the following statement regarding this vote:
“Today’s vote acquitting former President Trump marks a deeply tragic and somber moment in the history of this country. The harrowing insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021 laid bare the fragility of our democracy and the increasing tolerance of extreme violence and white supremacy at the highest levels of government – and today’s vote again does the same.
“Despite overwhelming evidence that he encouraged his supporters to violently storm the Capitol to prevent the certification of electoral votes following a fair and free election, Mr. Trump will not be held accountable for this flagrant attempt to maintain power. Those who voted to acquit Mr. Trump have again chosen to prioritize endorsing authoritarianism, divisiveness, and personal political gain over enforcing the rule of law, public safety, and protecting our democracy from future attempts to subvert the will of the voters.
“Today’s acquittal also represents a deep injustice for communities that have been victimized by Mr. Trump’s encouragement of white supremacist groups who have engaged in harassment and bias against Black people, Latino people, Jewish people, Muslims, and other historically marginalized groups in the United States. The rhetoric that Mr. Trump employed throughout his presidency fomented the white supremacist extremism that culminated in the violent coup attempt that will forever mar this country. Moreover, Mr. Trump’s false claims about electoral integrity before and after the presidential race constituted blatant attempts to nullify Black voting strength and silence Black voices.
“This country’s laws, including Congress’ impeachment power, are designed to serve as a bulwark against extremism and the power ambitions of individual leaders in order to protect our democratic foundation. Today, the rule of law, and the accountability mechanism it provides, was disregarded for the sake of partisanship and power, which will have consequences both foreseen and unknown. Now more than ever, those who stand for justice and equality must entrench their commitment to advancing systemic reforms to protect these critical, yet deeply vulnerable, democratic values.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.