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  • Writer's pictureMichael McAuliff

Republicans Are Fidgeting, Literally, At Senate Trial

Republicans have been having an especially hard time abiding by the spirit and letter of the restrictions on senators during the impeachment trial of President Trump. It appears Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) found a way to ease their pain: give them fidget spinners.

Sen. Mike Rounds demonstrates his fidget spinner.

Burr, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, handed them out a lunch Thursday while tweets were going viral about Republicans leaving the Senate chamber in large numbers when they're supposed to be sitting as jurors in only the third impeachment trial of a president in U.S. history.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) was unfamiliar with the distraction devices, but seemed tickled by the gift when he displayed his for reporters.

"I like 'em. I’ve never seen one before. I couldn’t figure out what they were," Rounds said. "It’s pretty cool, you know? They’re trying to figure out whether they’re legal on the floor of the Senate."

According to the rules, senators are supposed to be seated and silent, not eating, with only water or somites milk to drink. Still, a number of them did not wait on a ruling to get busy with the spinners at their desks, including Burr and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Asked if he was using it, Rounds hadn't gotten there yet. “I’ve been thinking about it. A lot of us thought, 'You know what? Grandkids would really like to have that.'"

Rounds laughed when informed of Cotton's infraction. "He’s just ahead of the times, that’s all," he said, spinning his own spinner in the hallway outside the Senate chamber. "They do last quite a while. Not that they would outlast some of the dissertation we had in there. Might make the time go a little quicker anyway.”


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