How do you remove a former President from office? It is an absurd question, yet with the latest Democratic impeachment effort against former President Donald Trump, the possibly unconstitutional question before Congress takes prominence over COVID-19 relief. As a lifelong Democrat, I don’t find myself agreeing with many of my fellow party members for multiple reasons.
One of the main arguments for pushing forward the impeachment of former President Trump revolves around “justice” and accountability for the Capitol Hill riot. After all, “incitement of insurrection” is the only article of impeachment the House sent the Senate. But if anyone really wants “justice” then they would have demanded a full investigation, hearings, and to hear at least a defense statement before voting on anything as serious as impeachment. None of that happened.
Not to mention, impeachment is first and foremost about the removal from office. Former President Trump is no longer in office. It is not the same as the social media memes stating “if a banker robs the bank on his last day and resigns, would the bank just let him off the hook?” Well, the bank wouldn’t execute justice, likely the FBI and other law enforcement would be paying the banker a visit and a court trial would follow. The bank would not have to “impeach” or remove the banker from a position he no longer held in order to get justice. If there really is a legal case around Trump’s involvement, then legal authorities should take the lead since Trump is no longer in elected office. That’s how the legal system works.
Also, the precedent set by current Democratic leaders scares me for the future. We now have made it clear it is acceptable for Congress to conduct a snap impeachment of the President of the United States. What a horrible precedent to set. In the future, any congressional majority can simply hold a snap vote and derail American politics without even a hearing or defense based on this action. This is not what the founders imagined when they crafted the impeachment process. And Democrats better be careful, because hypocritical cries in the future will fall on deaf ears when this power is abused against them eventually. Republicans were desperate to impeach President Barack Obama while he was in office, now they could target him in the future, or go after Bill Clinton again. And how could Democrats not impeach George W. Bush for war crimes or even former Secretary of State Colin Powell for lying about the Iraq War? Who cares they aren’t in office anymore. How far will all this go?
Democrats supporting this impeachment are blatantly honest with the fact they simply want to convict in order to prevent Trump from seeking federal office in the future as the punishment. Why? Trump lost, Biden won, right? Congressional Democrats don’t think Biden, or Harris, can beat Trump in 4 years? News flash: Biden beat Trump in November and garnered the most votes in American history. The focus on the punishment as the justification of using impeachment also makes it look clearly partisan, exactly the opposite of what impeachment is supposed to be. Chief Justice John Roberts is not even presiding over the impeachment trial. Instead longtime Democratic leader Patrick Leahy is filling the role, which further complicates the entire situation even more for history and strengthens the partisan argument.
No matter how bad Democrats want it, impeachment of Trump just doesn’t make sense. Yes, the Senate has the power. That’s also not the issue. It only continues the sideshow and further proves the obsession with Donald Trump infects Democrats as much as his own supporters. How can we all rally around President Biden’s call for unity and defeating COVID-19 when Congress is about to hold a trial to impeach Trump? There was a real moment there for President Biden to end this whole effort and keep control of his new narrative, but I fear that will begin to fall apart for good when the trial begins the week of February 8th. Congress won’t even give us time to enjoy the Superbowl without re-injecting the politics of Trump.
Not to mention, early indications show around 45 Republican Senators not going along with the impeachment. Things could change, sure, but getting 17 Republicans to flip on Trump is a tall order. So what’s the point? The Democrats didn’t even campaign on Trump’s first impeachment during the last election. This trial won’t lead to anything and likely only increases the odds Donald Trump actually runs again in 2024.
Is this the Biden presidency? Sometimes it’s hard to forget President Trump when the Democrats remain so fearful of him. You already took his Twitter, get ready to give him back a big megaphone if a full trial takes place.