It’s now official. After a day of debate and commentary on the House floor, President Donald Trump has been impeached for the second time in a year’s time. This time, Democrats and some Republicans are accusing him inciting the riot that happened on Capitol Hill last week.
It's official. President Trump becomes the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. pic.twitter.com/udGPGzvMle
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 13, 2021
This attempt will almost certainly end the same way the first one did. While there will likely be a few more Republican crossovers this time in the Senate (last time, it was just Mitt Romney), getting to the required amount to officially convict will be a tall, tall order. The fact that the trial won’t happen until after Trump leaves office won’t help matters either for those hoping to see the President reprimanded. Of course, in the end, the real goal here is the a subsequent vote to bar him from ever running for public office again. That’s what Democrats want, but it’s also what a number of Republicans want, seeing it as the easiest way to stop Trump from dominating the party in 2024.
As I’ve shared before, I think this is an emotional reaction that doesn’t actually have much merit. Yes, the Congress can impeach for whatever they want, but there’s also previously been a standard that you don’t just do that based on supposition and political disagreements. I’ve read Trump’s speech before the riot happened. He did not tell people to go tear the Capitol Building up, break in, or harm anyone. Factually, he told them to go “peacefully.” To the extent that him complaining the election was stolen indirectly whipped some people into a frenzy, they are still responsible for their own actions.
In short, I do not like the precedent being set that it is “incitement” for someone to make political claims, even if those claims are dubious. I do not believe Josh Hawly saying “stand up” was incitement either, though he’s being accused of such. This is a standard that will come back to haunt Republicans if they accept it. One can believe Trump was wrong and didn’t help matters without falling into the idea that impeachment should be used so freely, even when there’s not direct evidence for the charge being presented.
This will almost certainly fail, and I believe it’s a miscalculation by the GOP if they think this will get Trump to go away. It will likely have the opposite effect.
(Please follow me on Twitter…@bonchieredstate)