The fallout of Donald Trump’s impeachment

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 at 8:00 PM

After years of support and hope, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the 45th U.S. President Donald Trump. He became the third sitting president to be formally impeached, a decision many saw as a futile attempt at ousting Trump from office. Numerous groups expressed concern that nothing positive would come of a formal impeachment, noting Republicans almost blindingly follow the “Commander in Chief,” and that an acquittal would only give more power to the president and aid in his re-election campaign.

Democrats saw the articles of impeachment as a historic win. Regardless of the outcome, Speaker of the House and Democrat Nancy Pelosi stands by with the assurance of “whatever happens, he’s impeached forever.” When the House adopted the articles, some of her fellow Democrats cheered, and Pelosi silenced them.

In a subsequent move that surprised absolutely nobody, the U.S. Senate did what the world knew they would: acquit Donald Trump of the charges brought against him by the House. Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress were the formal charges. The Constitution requires a 2/3 majority to remove a president from office, and the Senate remained divided among party lines.

While the outcome of the impeachment went exactly as expected, it was, and is, the fallout that is most peculiar. In a historic first, Sen. Mitt Romney, who ran again President Barack Obama in 2012, voted against his own party by voting guilty on the charge of abuse of power. He voted with his party on the other article. 

Many blasted Romney in the news and social media, with some convinced his actions were career suicide. Some called for his resignation, while others want him to be recalled. The Utah legislature declined to hear bills introduced to do such an action. Other Republican Party leaders have also decided against what they call “punishment” for Romney. Only time will tell how voting against his party will play out for the senator.

Another aspect of the impeachment fallout came during Trump’s State of the Union address, when Nancy Pelosi tore up her copy of his speech at the end. What played out next highlighted just how ignorant most of the country, mostly Trump supporters, seem to be when it comes to understanding the country’s laws and procedures. First, the internet saw its chance and immortalized Pelosi as a meme.

Second, and more importantly, many called for repercussions against the Speaker, as they saw her destruction of Trump’s speech as a violation of the Presidential Records Act. It would have been a violation if she held the original document. She did not. Numerous individuals still call for something to be done, while experts agree her actions don’t constitute a crime.

In addition, Trump has acted out in retaliation against those called to testify. In what seems like petty revenge, multiple witnesses and those who did not testify, but are affiliated with said witnesses, were fired. While in character for the president, who often exerts his authority like a child attempting to prove themselves grown up, many Republicans voiced concern and attempted to stop the firings, which occurred two days after the impeachment trial. It is very hard to see this as anything other than Trump’s retribution for their testimony.

 Democrats saw the firings as Trump demanding blind loyalty instead of honest testimony. Most of the aftermath of the impeachment seems to revolve around Trump asserting his power, seemingly to prove that he can use it with impunity now that he has been acquitted of all charges. Others, including those in his own party, caution him against doing just that so soon. They’d rather he leave the mess in the past and focus on the future.

Trump supporters have, of course, rallied behind the man they consider infallible, seeing the acquittal as a sign of a great president that the opposition will do anything to discredit and destroy. Many expect the acquittal to be a tool Trump will exploit in his re-election campaign. 

Now that the hearings and trial are over, it seems the news cycle has gone back to normal, with the president remaining in the news as he always has. Trump has added the impeachment results to the fire of his fanbase, but the expected end fails to live up to the fears that this would push him and his campaign to the next level. It isn’t much of a stretch to say the impeachment did almost nothing to a man who is constantly criticized in the media. It seems the fire of controversy that fueled his initial election is fading.

A lot can happen in the upcoming months, and I would not count out the current president just yet.

Tags: trump

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