Republicans are demanding that Donald Trump’s trial for trying to overthrow the 2020 election be moved outside of Washington, D.C., suggesting that he won’t get a fair trial in the city because a lot of Democrats live there.
Trump was arraigned Thursday in the nation’s capital for attempting to overturn the election. He pleaded not guilty to four counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.
The GOP, which has staunchly maintained that he did nothing wrong, has now begun to insist that there’s no way Trump will get a fair trial in Washington. “Washington, DC is a ‘swamp’ and it is unfair to have to stand trial before a jury that is reflective of the swamp mentality,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is theoretically running for president against Donald Trump, tweeted. He also admitted he has not read the indictment yet.
By “swamp mentality,” he likely means “left-leaning.” Washington is an overwhelmingly Democratic city, and 95 percent of residents voted for Joe Biden in 2020. On Thursday, only a handful of Trump supporters showed up to the courthouse, while nearly 100 people stood outside to celebrate Trump’s arrest.
That doesn’t mean the city’s potential jurors can’t do a fair job, though. And the answer is not to move the trial to the “politically unbiased nearby State of West Virginia,” as Trump has demanded. Trump’s lawyer John Lauro has also pushed to move the trial to West Virginia. (By the same logic of why Washington would be biased, Trump won West Virginia by more than 30 points in 2020, his second-largest margin of victory in the election.)
The answer is to leave the trial exactly where it is. The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution states that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.”
Trump is not just accused of conspiracy and obstruction; he is accused of conspiring and obstructing in Washington. The only person Trump has to blame for the location of his trial is himself.