With just seven days to go before the nightmarish fever dream that is a Donald Trump Presidency finally hauls itself to a smoking wreck of an end, the House of Representatives has just voted to impeach the President for the second time.
The vote, which was passed with 232 in favour and 197 against, sees 10 republicans crossing the floor to vote with the Democrats for the immediate removal of Donald Trump.
This unprecedented move follows last week’s storming of the Capitol by white supremacists, with Democrats moving swiftly to remove him, forgoing the months of impeachment hearings undertaken last time.
The shocking event, in which one domestic terrorist was shot in the neck and killed and a policeman was beaten to death by the supporters of the “party of law and order”, also prompted pretty much every online platform to ban Trump, largely removing his online presence.
However, the vote still has to pass the Senate in order for Trump to be convicted and it is unclear whether or not this will happen. In an impeachment case, the State must pass a two-thirds majority in order to convict Trump of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” offence.
While the previous attempt to impeach the President over his attempts to bribe Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate, this time things are a little different.
What Happens Now?
Last time we had a President with almost a year left in office and a party that was mostly in full support of him – or at least fully against whatever the Democrats wanted to do – not to mention his vocal supporter base.
This time, however, some Republicans, the ones not actively involved in inciting violence, seem genuinely concerned over just how far Trumpism has gone in America. When the tide of swivel-eyed racists came foaming through their own front door, they may have got the wake up call they needed to realise just how dangerous the situation has become.
Republicans like Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham have been outspoken in their condemnation of the attack on the Capitol which isn’t too surprising as they’ve often been critics of the President.
What was really shocking this week, however, were moves from Arch Republican and demonic menace in Pan’s Labyrinth, Mitch McConnell. McConnell, who has recently been made Senate Minority Leader, has always been nihilistically supportive of Trump so long as he helps achieve the Republican Party.
Now McConnell has come out and stated that Trump’s actions last Thursday were offences worthy of impeachment. If McConnell wants him out, it’s game over for Trump as The Minority Leaders’ sway in the Senate ought to be enough to pass the two-thirds majority.
However, McConnell has stated that the Senate hearings on Trump’s impeachment will not go ahead until after Joe Biden’s inauguration, meaning the President will serve the remaining time in office.
Why Impeach Him Now?
With just a week left in office, plans to remove Trump seem a little late. However, if convicted, Trump will lose all of the entitlements granted to him as a former President of the United States.
Trump will no longer have secret service protection, will not be entitled to the $200,000 per year pension, will not receive Presidential health insurance, will lose his travel budget, and, most importantly, will lose the right to hold any high office in US government again. This would thwart Trump’s suggested plans to run again in 2024.
It also sets a good precedent in an era of unaccountability. Trump being convicted for his actions would finally see him face the consequences of his years of arrogant misrule and blatant disregard for the law.
Let’s not forget that, shocking though the Capitol riot was, it could have been far, far worse. While many of the rioters seemed bemused at their breaching of the building, many simply waving flags and taking selfies, others had different ideas. A noose had been erected outside the Capitol building and several of the invaders were seen wearing full military tactical gear and carrying zip ties for binding people’s hands.
Were it not for the bravery of officer in diverting one stream of rioters away from the Chamber of Congress, we may have seen a hostage situation and even executions of sitting members of Congress in the Capitol building.
While Trump’s second impeachment will further tar his reputation, conviction would send the message that this sort of politics is simply unacceptable in the United States.