- One of Trump’s impeachment lawyers delivered a rambling opening statement on Tuesday.
- Bruce Castor Jr. was brutally mocked by political figures across the aisle of his remarks.
- “There is no argument. I have no idea what he is doing,” Alan Dershowitz said.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
If Bruce Castor Jr. had a central point or argument during his opening statement at former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Tuesday, it was seemingly lost on virtually everyone who listened in.
Political figures on both sides of the aisle broadly expressed confusion about Castor’s rambling remarks during which the attorney effectively admitted that he was winging it.
“I’ll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought the House managers’ presentation was well done,” Castor said in a lengthy speech that included myriad references to random historical events. A lot of people apparently noticed.
Alan Dershowitz, who was on Trump’s legal team during his first impeachment trial in 2020, in an appearance on the right-wing outlet Newsmax expressed utter bewilderment over Castor’s remarks.
“There is no argument. I have no idea what he is doing,” Dershowitz said of Castor’s opening remarks. “That’s not the kind of argument I would have made, I’ll tell you that.”
Many on Twitter expressed similar sentiments during the trial and Castor was ridiculed by political commentators, legal experts, presidential historians, and veteran journalists.
—Jennifer ‘America is Back’ Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) February 9, 2021
—Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) February 9, 2021
—Dan Rather (@DanRather) February 9, 2021
—Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) February 9, 2021
—Susan Glasser (@sbg1) February 9, 2021
A number of GOP senators were also critical of Castor and Trump’s legal team overall when speaking to reporters after both sides concluded their opening remarks.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Castor “just rambled on and on” and on and “didn’t really address” the Republican argument that it’s unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a former president.
“Anyone who listened to President Trump’s legal team saw they were unfocused, they attempted to avoid the issue, and they talked about everything but the issue at hand,” Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska described being “really stunned” by Castor, adding, “I couldn’t figure out where he was going.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a top ally of the former president, offered a fairly lukewarm take on the Trump legal team’s performance.
“The president’s defense was OK … it took a long time to get to where I think the meat of the question is,” Graham told reporters.
Asked about Castor’s remarks, he said, “I thought I knew where it was going, and I really didn’t know where it was going.”
Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy also called Trump’s team “disorganized” and said they did a “terrible job.”
—Alan He (@alanhe) February 9, 2021
After the first day of the trial concluded, Castor was asked by USA Today reporter Christal Hayes for a reaction to the criticism of his performance. “I thought we had a good day,” Castor replied.
Even though the overwhelming consensus appears to be that Castor failed to offer a compelling defense for Trump, the former president is still expected to be acquitted. Senate Democrats are unlikely to garner the necessary votes from Republicans to convict Trump over his incitement of a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.
Watch Castor’s speech below: