Commentary

Lesson of Impeachment: Schumer Socks

By Terence P. Jeffrey | January 23, 2020 | 10:01am EST
 
 
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaking on the Senate floor during impeachment proceedings, Jan. 22, 2020. (Screen Capture)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaking on the Senate floor during impeachment proceedings, Jan. 22, 2020. (Screen Capture)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) apparently wanted Americans to know about a pair of socks he owns—which he thought they might find amusing.

So, on Dec. 14, he sent out a tweet. It featured a photo of him with New York Attorney General Tish James.

In the photo, Schumer is grasping James’ left shoulder with his left hand to keep his balance as she lifts his left leg up in the air.

As she holds up his leg, she points gleefully to his flamboyant socks, which appear to feature four colors: ribbons of a bright light blue, a darker blue, black, and, finally, red.

Schumer and James are both beaming in the photo.

“Tish James and I agree,” Schumer says in his tweet. “Socks Rule.”

Senate Minority Leader Schumer's sock--as featured in his "Socks Rule" tweet.
Senate Minority Leader Schumer's sock--as featured in his "Socks Rule" tweet.

Flash forward to Tuesday, Jan. 21. As the Senate began its impeachment trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) and Minority Leader Schumer were the only two senators to speak.

Schumer sought to emphasize the profound significance of what the Senate was about to do.

“We are staring down an erosion of the sacred democratic principles for which our Founders fought a bloody war of independence,” he said. “Such is the gravity of this historic moment.”

He wanted his Senate colleagues to know that the nation and its posterity would be watching them.

“My colleagues, the eyes of the Nation, the eyes of history, the eyes of the Founding Fathers are upon us,” Schumer said. “History will be our final judge. Will senators rise to the occasion?”

The next day Schumer showed up for the first day of arguments from the House impeachment managers dressed in much the same manner as all the other male members of the Senate. He wore a dark gray suit, a light-colored dress shirt, an understated reddish pink tie, and black shoes.

Schumer on the Senate floor during the impeachment proceedings, Jan. 22, 2020. (Screen Capture)
Schumer on the Senate floor during the impeachment proceedings, Jan. 22, 2020. (Screen Capture)

His desk—as the leader of his party—sits in the front row at the center of the chamber.

When he sat at that desk, which he did for virtually all of the proceedings that day, he often swung his left leg over his knee or pushed one of his feet fully to the front of his desk revealing to the House managers—who were speaking right in front of him—and to anyone sitting in the galleries above, that he was wearing the same flamboyant, jocular socks he had joked about with the New York attorney general a month before.

With his left leg over his knee, his pant leg was pulled up over a significant stretch of his calf—and the Schumer Sock covered all of it.

What does Schumer’s humorous sock, worn on the first day House managers presented their impeachment arguments to the Senate, say about Schumer’s approach to an event he declared would attract “the eyes of the Nation, the eyes of history” and “the eyes of the Founding Fathers”?

Underneath that dark gray suit, there is a joke.





 

 

 

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