Republican senators participating in the impeachment trial of US president Donald Trump in the Senate were this week handed fidget spinners, apparently in an attempt to help them concentrate on the historic proceedings.
The toys were doled out by Senator Richard Burr, who was seen playing with a blue spinner while listening to arguments by Jerrold Nadler, an impeachment manager.
Other senators, including Tom Cotton and Pat Toomey, were also seen with spinners on their desks.
The handheld devices have been banned for some schools in the UK and US.
Senators and staff at the hearing are not allowed digital devices while the trial is sitting, instead resorting to pens and paper. It has been a challenge for some
“Many of my junior staff were concerned and alarmed,” said Democratic senator Chris Coons earlier this week. “I reminded them that I made it through all of law school without a cell phone, without an iPad. We may actually be able to focus more. It will be a needed digital cleanse.”
Republican senator Shelley Moore Capito added: “Like every American who has an electronic, I suppose the first day we’ll have a little withdrawal, but we’ll be fine. I’m ready to sit there as long as I need to.”
Fidget spinners are small ball-bearing toys that users can rotate between their fingers.
Each fidget spinner has three “legs” sticking out from the centre, which is where the user holds the spinner in order to rotate it.
Many fidget spinners are being marketed on their ability to help easily distracted children concentrate more, or as a tool for anxiety in the classroom.
Some have even suggested the toys serve as a low budget antidote to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, plenty of scientists have already come forward to suggest these claims are likely exaggerated.
Trump is accused of seeking and probes of political foe Joe Biden and his son Hunter for his own political benefit, while holding back Congress-approved military aid as leverage.
The president faces a second article of impeachment accusing him of obstructing Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House investigation.
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and Trump’s acquittal is considered likely.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.