One day after appearing before the senate bareheaded, Trump’s Orthodox Jewish layer, David Schoen appeared again but this time, wearing a kippah. Before the trial on Tuesday, Schoen was seen wearing his kippah but apparently removed it before pleading his case. During his address, he repeatedly covered his head with his hand when he drank water, leading to a furor on social media.
hold my head, im taking a sip pic.twitter.com/vhIZlX77zv
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 9, 2021
Jews must recite a blessing before eating or drinking, even in small quantities. Since reciting a blessing requires saying the ineffable name of God, it is intensely uncomfortable for Jews who are used to reciting blessings to do so with their head uncovered as this is seen as a sign of disrespect. It should be noted that using one’s own hand to cover your head is not a sufficient covering according to traditional halachic (Torah law) authorities.
Another possible explanation is that, as an Orthodox Jew who regularly wears a kippah, Schoen may have reflexively tried to prevent his non-existent kippah from sliding off his head as he tipped his head back to drink.
In an interview with CNN following the hearings, Schoen expressed concern that wearing the identifiable Jewish head covering might not be “appropriate.”
“I just wasn’t sure if it was appropriate, frankly,” Schoen said after the hearing to a CNN reporter who asked him why did not wear a kippah. “I didn’t want to offend anyone…It’s just an awkward thing and people stare at it.”
In fact, wearing a kippah maybe have been proscribed until 2019 when the House overturned their ban on head coverings that was first instated in 1838. The ruling was spurred on by Rep. Ilhan Omar and an interfaith group to allow Muslim women to wear
On Wednesday, Schoen did wear his kippah into the Senate but did not address the plenum though neither did he address the Senators. On Wednesday, the entire session was given over to the Democrats making their case, attempting to make the claim that President Trump incited the violence that accompanied the protests on January 6 in the nation’s capital.
Before the trial began, Schoen sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) requesting that the trial be suspended during the Jewish Sabbath.
“I apologize for the inconvenience my request that impeachment proceedings not be conducted during the Jewish Sabbath undoubtedly will cause other people involved in the proceedings,” wrote Schoen. “The practices and prohibitions are mandatory for me, however; so, respectfully, I have no choice but to make this request.”
Schoen’s request was honored.
On the first day of the trial, Schoen presented a legal argument that the Senate lacked jurisdiction to try a former president. He contended that the impeachment was fueled by “base hatred” and a “lust for impeachment”. He also held up a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book in comparing the impeachment to the actions of authoritarian regimes.