Trump’s Lawyers Used Madonna and Johnny Depp in Impeachment Defense

Trump's lawyers opted for a whataboutism defense by showing clips of Madonna and Depp disparaging the former president

Trump lawyers Madonna Johnny Depp video impeachment trial quote
Madonna (photo by Paul Morigi), Donald Trump, and Johnny Depp (photo via YouTube)

Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial has been taking place over the past few days, and his lawyers haven’t been doing that great of a job defending him. For example, on Friday they argued that Democrats have previously used the same type of provocative language that Democrats are now claiming the former president used to incite the Capitol siege. To prove their point, Trump’s lawyers played a video that featured “fight” rhetoric used by Madonna and Johnny Depp, neither of whom provoked a violence insurrection.

Trump’s attorney David Schoen accused the House impeachment managers of deceptively editing Trump’s words in their own video, which focused on Trump’s rallying cries on January 6th that were then cited by supporters as the riot began. The defense pushed back by presenting a nearly 10-minute-long video montage of various Democrats using the word “fight” in speeches — a simple editing decision that may have been more relevant if they hadn’t brought random celebrities into the fold.

The footage interspersed remarks made by politicians like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren, but the inclusion of Madonna and Depp came as a confusing surprise. In Depp’s segment, which was filmed at Glastonbury in 2017, the actor can be seen saying, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” Depp promptly apologized a few days later, saying his comment was a “bad joke” and he did not intended to harm anyone.

The clip of Madonna came from her Women’s March speech in 2017. At one point, she said, “I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything. We can’t fall into despair.” Trump’s lawyers only used the first part of that first sentence in their video, despite the fact that Madonna later apologized and said her words were taken out of context — which they were again during the trial.

The difference, of course, is that nobody actually took violent action against the former president after hearing Depp and Madonna’s statements, nor did they directly credit those words as influencing them to get physical. It seems like an obvious truth, but then again, Trump’s lawyers need something to grab ahold of, and desperately labeling Democrats as hypocrites is the least they can do right now.

Incidentally, Depp and Madonna aren’t the only celebrities who found their way into the trial. House impeachment manager Rep. Stacey Plaskett quoted both Run the Jewels and GZA in her remarks on the floor on February 10th. Her invocation of famous people was far more effective, of course, as it was to make an actual point, not participate in failed whataboutism.