Delayed Impeachment Necessary to Establish Precedent
Jan. 6, 2021, will forever be known as one of the most harrowing days in United States history. As I process the news and the domestic terrorism which occurred, I am undergoing a cycle of shock, stress and discouragement with America’s current political climate. To be frank, I have not had much hope in the executive branch since President Trump was elected in 2016, and it has deteriorated over the last 4 years. President-elect Joe Biden best described the insurrection in his speech on Jan. 6, stating that “at their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.”
I firmly believe that the insurrection was enabled by the words of President Donald Trump and his administration. This statement can be proven through the speeches that members of President Trump’s team, including himself, his oldest son Donald Jr. and his attorney Rudolph Giuliani, gave at a rally the morning of the riot. This realization is terrifying. It is even more sickening to hear Trump say, “We love you…you’re very special” to his supporters amid the riots. Therefore, it becomes imperative that President Trump is formally impeached and removed from office permanently. As much as I would love to see Vice President Pence invoke the 25th Amendment and take over office until Inauguration Day, the best option is impeachment due to the resignation of a number of Trump’s cabinet, as they would be needed to invoke the 25th Amendment. However, impeachment cannot occur in the remaining days of Trump’s presidency for various reasons.
For starters, impeaching and removing President Trump from office while he still technically holds a position of authority is dangerous due to his loyal base of supporters. Although the insurrection may have shaken many of Trump’s followers, many still remain loyal to him. If Trump is impeached and removed at this time, he will likely victimize himself, which will incite sympathy and action from his allies. American politicians cannot afford to underestimate the actions of “Retrumplicans,” since some of them just willingly stormed the Capitol Building.
Additionally, the length and depth of the impeachment process makes it insurmountable for President Trump’s impeachment and removal to occur before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. There are currently rumored conversations occurring in the House of Representatives about presenting the impeachment articles, which is the first step in the process. Once voted on, they are sent to the Senate for approval. Here comes the catch: the Senate is not scheduled for session until Jan. 19, which is the day before Biden will be sworn into the presidency. This time frame makes it nearly impossible for both bodies of Congress to remove President Trump from office prior to Inauguration Day. But this does not mean that Congress can slide away from their duty; the U.S. Constitution provides that “judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States." In light of this, impeachment should be put on the back burner for the moment. America needs to focus on healing and welcoming a new president into office, and then Congress can begin the process of a delayed impeachment to not only assure that President Trump will never again assume a position in government, but also to establish symbolism, verifying the precedent that acts of sedition cannot be condoned.
“Fighting the good fight has never been more necessary to do,” CNN journalist Chris Cuomo uttered this past week on his analysis show, Cuomo Prime Time. It will undoubtedly be tragic, horrifying and shameful to reflect on the insurrection. At the time this article was written, five lives had been lost. Many will carry hurt and trauma for a long time as a result of President Trump and his supporter’s actions, and that cannot go unrecognized.
History will not regard this time fondly. Our children and grandchildren will certainly learn about the insurrection and all that President Trump’s administration did to enable it. For this reason, it is the responsibility of Congress and all involved in American politics to ensure that President Donald Trump is impeached. That is what “fighting the good fight” looks like, and we owe it to future generations to do so. We must prevent President Trump from ever holding a position in public office again, and we must set precedent for history to follow.
By Hannah Porter, Opinion Editor