Vandals smashed windows and spray-painted “TRAITOR” on the driveway of his suburban Philadelphia home Friday night, after he spent hours on the Senate floor hurling partisan invective and testily condemning the former president’s second impeachment trial as “constitutional cancel culture.”
A group of demonstrators with the group Refuse Fascism gathered outside his Center City law office chanting, “When van der Veen lies, what do you do? Convict. Convict.”
And when he returned to the Senate podium Saturday for a debate over whether witnesses would be called to testify about Trump’s mindset during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, his suggestion that he would seek to depose at least 100 people at his office drew audible, bipartisan guffaws from the room — and set the internet ablaze.
“None of these depositions should be done by Zoom,” he said. “These depositions should be done in person, in my office in Philly-delphia.”
Van der Veen appeared confused by the response that followed his pronunciation of the city and his threat to drag people to his office there.
“I don’t know how many civil lawyers are here, but that’s the way it works folks,” he shouted over the chuckling. “I don’t know why you’re laughing. It is civil process. That is the way lawyers do it.”
It was unclear whether the senators were chuckling over his suggestion of having House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris schlep up I-95 to sit for hours-long interviews at his law office or at his singular pronunciation of the city where he works.
But his comments once again turned Philadelphia — the place where Trump famously declared that “bad things happen” and the city whose votes proved crucial to President Joe Biden’s victory — into an internet meme.
“I think that was probably exaggeration,” Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) said of van der Veen’s call for 100 witnesses. But he added of the biggest city in his state: “For the record, I want people to come to Philly anytime.”
Even after the Senate voted Saturday to acquit Trump, van der Veen bristled at how he felt he’d been mistreated throughout the trial.
“The thing is, you guys don’t know me,” he told reporters. “I’m not a controversial guy. I’m not politically minded so to speak. I’m a trial lawyer and I represent people’s interests in court. ... And I’m disappointed that this is the result of just me doing my job.”
Staff writer Julie Shaw and photojournalist Tyger Williams contributed to this article.