AUSTIN (KXAN) — Days before the November election, Wendy Davis, an Austin congressional candidate, was on board the Biden-Harris campaign bus as it was swarmed by a caravan of President Donald Trump’s supporters in Central Texas.
Trump would later praise the group, tweeting: “I LOVE TEXAS.”
“It was unnerving for everyone,” Davis told KXAN on Tuesday. “I would hope that we never get numb enough to that kind of behavior that it’s normal and that it’s okay and, really, that’s what this impeachment trial is about right now.”
While the incident on I-35 occurred months before Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol, it will be part of the U.S. House’s argument that Trump incited violence that led to the riot and should be convicted by the U.S. Senate.
“October 30, when a caravan of his supporters in Texas attacked a bus full of Biden campaign workers, nearly running it off the road, President Trump tweeted a stylized video of the caravan and captioned it, ‘I LOVE TEXAS!’ Days later, he declared that ‘these patriots’—who could easily have killed a busload of innocent campaign staff—“did nothing wrong,” the House trial memorandum reads.
The second impeachment trial of Trump began on Tuesday. If convicted by the Senate, Trump could later be barred from seeking federal office in the future.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has questioned whether the Senate has the constitutional backing to prosecute a former president, though he described the U.S Capitol insurrection as “a frightening experience.”
“I’m happy to listen to the evidence, but really more than the facts or what happened that night I’m concerned about the precedent that would set,” Cornyn said. “If Democrats can do this to a Republican president after he’s left office, that means Republicans can do it to a Democratic president after they’ve left office. That strikes me as a bad outcome.”
Before any evidence was presented at the impeachment trial, Sen. Ted Cruz, who volunteered to argue Texas’ failed lawsuit to overturn election results in four battleground states and objected to the certification of Electoral College votes, told Hugh Hewitt that he already decided that he will vote against convicting Trump.
“I think [Democrats] are engaged in political retribution,” Cruz said. “I’m going to vote against conviction. I don’t believe President Trump is going to be convicted. I don’t think there are going to be 67 votes to convict.”
Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, predicts some Republican senators will vote to convict the former president but Cornyn and Cruz won’t be among them.
“They’re both Republicans in a state where Ted Cruz needs to have that success and John Cornyn just had some success so they both need to be able to follow the Trump model, at least a little bit,” Rottinghaus said. “This is a test of the Republican party unity and, by all accounts, they’re going to stay together.”