A few hours [after the trial session ended], van der Veen erupted in the well of the Senate about the day he was having. “We aren’t having fun here,” he said. “This is about the most miserable experience I’ve had down here in Washington, DC”
I watched this self-pity party from my own house, and I thought: How on earth could a former president of the United States possibly have hired a team of boobs this bad at law?
Trump advertises himself as a billionaire. Certainly he has raised tens of millions of dollars for his legal-defense fund. Why did he not have good lawyers at his second impeachment trial? Yes, he is an unattractive defendant in many ways. But good lawyers regularly accept unattractive defendants. The problem seems to be that Trump affirmatively prefers bad lawyering. Or rather, that he values good lawyering less than he values aggressive and truculent lawyering.
Over more than 20 hours, the trial offered a sharp contrast between people who excelled at their jobs and people who floundered in their jobs. In that, the trial aptly symbolized so much that has occurred over four Trump years.
Along with the corruption and the authoritarianism, the brutality and the bigotry, the Trump presidency was characterized by a persistent drip, drip, drip of slovenliness and carelessness: matters as minor as the frequent spelling errors in White House press releases and as deadly as the horrifying mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration was staffed from top to bottom by people who were bad at stuff.