Democrats claim to want to unify the country, but impeaching a former president, a private citizen, is the antithesis of unity. This impeachment is nothing more than a partisan exercise designed to divide the country further.

They have brazenly appointed an openly pro-impeachment Democrat to preside over the trial. This is not fair or impartial, and it hardly encourages any kind of unity for the country.

If we are about to try to impeach a president, then where is the chief justice? If the accused is no longer president, then where is the constitutional power to impeach him?

Private citizens don’t get impeached. Impeachment is for removal from office, and the accused here has already left office.

Hyperpartisan Democrats are about to drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol, the likes of which have never been seen in our nation’s history. Instead of doing the nation’s work with their new control of the House, Senate, and executive branch, Democrats are wasting the people’s time on a partisan vendetta against a man no longer in office. It’s almost as if they have no ability to exist except in opposition to Donald Trump. Without him as their boogeyman, they might have to legislate, and actually convince the public that their policy prescriptions are the right ones.

Democrats are about to do something no self-respecting senator has ever stooped to. They are insisting the election is actually not over, and so they insist on regurgitating its bitterness. In the past, calmer heads have typically prevailed in our history and allowed public opinion to cast blame where blame is deserved.

This sham of an impeachment will ostensibly ask whether Trump incited the reprehensible violence of Jan. 6., when he said, “I know everyone here will soon march to the Capitol to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” Peacefully and patriotically. Those are hardly words of violence.

But what of Democrats’ words, what of Democrats’ incitement to violence? No Democrat will honestly ask whether Bernie Sanders incited the shooter who nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise and a volunteer coach of the congressional Republican baseball squad. The shooter nearly pulled off a massacre, all because he fervently believed the false and inflammatory rhetoric spewed by Sanders and other Democrats – lines such as “The Republican healthcare plan for the uninsured is that you die.” As this avowed Bernie supporter shot at us, he screamed, “This is for healthcare!”

No Democrat will ask whether Sen. Cory Booker incited violence when he called for his supporters to get “up in the face” of congresspeople, a very visual and specific incitement.

No Democrat will ask whether Maxine Waters incited violence when she literally told her supporters, and I quote, “If you see a member of the Trump Cabinet at a restaurant, a department store, a gas station, or any place, you create a crowd and you push back on them.” My wife and I were pushed and surrounded by the type of mob Waters likes to inspire. It’s terrifying to have a swarm of people threaten to kill you, curse at you, and hold you literally hostage until police come to your rescue. No Democrat has ever considered impeaching Waters for her violent rhetoric.

Republicans, to their credit, have never once thought it legitimate to formally censure or impeach these Democrats for the words they said or the violent ways in which their supporters reacted. No Republican has sought to use government to hold these Democrats responsible for the antifa and Black Lives Matter violence that consumed our cities last summer, resulting in over $1 billion in destruction, looting, and property damage. Many on the Democratic side of the aisle cheered them on. Vice President Kamala Harris famously helped to raise money for the bail for those arrested for violent offenses. I wonder if she will be brought up on charges of inciting violence for that now that she is the vice president? Should she be impeached?

Should Republicans impeach the Democratic mayor of Seattle, who incited and condoned violence by calling the armed takeover of part of the city “a summer of love”

On June 8, the New York Post, citing U.S. Justice Department statistics, reported that more than 700 law enforcement officers had been injured during the antifa/Black Lives Matter riots. There were at least 19 murders, including that of 77-year old retired police officer David Dorn.

Yet Democrats insist on applying a test of incitement to a Republican that they refuse to apply to themselves. Shame on these angry, unhinged partisans, deranged by their hatred of the former president. Shame on those who seek blame and revenge, and who choose to pervert a constitutional process while doing so.

I want to put the Senate on the record. I will insist on holding a vote that makes every last senator vote on whether they believe this proceeding, the impeachment trial of a private citizen, is unconstitutional, illegal, and essentially a bill of attainder; on whether there is any fairness or due process in having a partisan Democrat already on record as favoring impeachment presiding over this trial; and on whether this is how our politics should be.

This trial is a sham, a travesty, and a dark blot on the history of our country.

I urge my colleagues to reconsider this kangaroo court and move forward to debate the great issues of our day.

Dr. Rand Paul, a Republican, is Kentucky’s junior U.S. senator.

You can read the Op-Ed HERE.