Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives continued its vendetta against Donald Trump by voting to impeach him for a second time, this time with slightly less than two weeks remaining in his one-term presidency. They did so knowing that the votes were lacking in the Senate to convict him and, because of Senate rules, it wouldn’t reconvene until the day before Joe Biden was to be inaugurated, the last full day of Trump’s term. Hence, there was insufficient time to conduct a proper impeachment trial while he was still in office.
The language of the Constitution and the founders’ clear intent regarding the purpose of the impeachment process is to remove a president from office if found guilty of high crimes or misdemeanors. There is no mention of pursuing this process against one who will have already left office although it is not expressly forbidden. Nevertheless, the Democrat-controlled House leadership hoped to persuade enough Republicans to join Democrats in reaching the two-third vote necessary to convict. Predictably, they failed to do so in a hurried farce of an impeachment trial, without witnesses and presided over, not by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but by the President Pro-tempore of the Senate, Sen. Pat Leahy.
The result was a 57 to 43 vote in favor of acquittal. Acquittal sounds fuzzier than not guilty, but to be clear, it means the same thing. Now, you and I may believe that Mr. Trump is as guilty of inciting a riot as O.J. Simpson was of murder, but in our democracy, people are not tried in the court of public opinion but in a court of law. In an impeachment trial, the Senate acts as the court and the senators as the jurors and for the record, Mr. Trump was found not guilty. The Senate, therefore, could not proceed to vote on barring him from running for public office in the future which would have required only a simple majority vote. Nice work, Democrats. Trump can now claim victory and display “Trump Found Not Guilty” headlines when he resumes campaigning.
Which he should not do if he cares anything about what’s left of the Republican Party. He is not an asset to the GOP, but rather a disruptive and divisive force. Although his endorsement might help some regional candidates in areas where Trump supporters remain strong, it’s unthinkable to me that Republicans would be dumb enough to nominate him for any office again. His approval rating, after all, never topped 50% and his re-election defeat and refusal to accept it certainly didn’t enhance that rating. Moreover, his acquittal does not mean that he is immune from criminal charges and civil suits. If he were to run for office again he would arguably be the most-flawed candidate in history.
In spite of those flaws, he remains a potent force in the party because of his accomplishments in office, but not as a candidate. He accomplished more in one term than some two-term presidents and he did so with virtually zero cooperation from the opposition party and constant attacks on the legitimacy of his presidency. Re-election was his to lose but he blew it by his boorish behavior and attacks on anyone who disagreed with him. In spite of Republican election gains in the House of Representatives and in the states, his refusal to accept defeat, attempts to intimidate Georgia’s governor and election officials and clumsy meddling in the Georgia run-off election for two Senate seats cost the GOP control of the Senate. His accomplishments in office will be remembered, but the GOP will need a new standard bearer who knows how to act like a president or they will lose members.
Unfortunately, they will probably lose members anyway and I am not sanguine regarding the future of the grand old party. Liberal immigration policies implemented by the Biden Administration will likely soon turn Texas, a red state, blue. Affluent liberals are leaving crime-infested cities from high-tax, Democrat-run northern states and fleeing to places like Texas, Florida, Georgia and other southern destinations. Unfortunately, they’re taking their politics with them. They already changed Georgia from red to blue. If Texas and Florida go blue, it’s all over for the GOP, at least until voters tire of one-party, liberal rule and the taxes and policies that come with it.