Editorial: What’s Different about Trump’s Second Impeachment?

Did we ever think we’d hear the words, “Second impeachment of the president of the United States”? 

One impeachment should be more than enough for any president. If Donald Trump had been re-elected, it’s almost certain he’d be facing a third impeachment at some point. Perhaps a fourth impeachment; after all, he achieved two in just one term. If the Senate had kept its Republican majority, and judging from how his first impeachment went, Donald Trump most likely would remain in office following any subsequent impeachments. But Trump wasn’t re-elected, and circumstances are different. 

It seems that when he incited a violent and deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week, Donald Trump may finally have gone too far, even for some of his staunch supporters.

Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled that he thinks Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses, and that he may (or may not) vote to convict Trump when the Senate conducts its proceedings. This is the opposite of the way he kept Senate Republicans in lockstep behind Trump during Trump’s first impeachment. 

During the House impeachment proceedings, a record 10 Republican lawmakers voted to impeach. This is in contrast to the zero Republicans who voted “yes” during Trump’s last impeachment trial. 

Major Republican donors have reportedly told Mitch McConnell that they believe Trump had crossed a line when he incited the violent and deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building last week, for which he was impeached. According to a GOP strategist, McConnell has told the donors that he is “finished with Trump.”

McConnell has indicated that he sees this impeachment as an opportunity for the Republican party to distance itself from divisive, chaotic Donald Trump. Might as well…He’s on his way out the door, anyway, and he’s clearly not a good look for the GOP if they want donations.

With McConnell signaling “permission,” several Republican senators, including Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), have indicated that they might vote to convict. In today’s Republican Congress, where lawmakers have absurdly excused Trump for the most corrupt, dangerous deeds, this is extraordinary.

As major party donors have suspended giving, and as some GOP senators are finding their courage to take the non-sycophantic route and vote their conscience against Trump, corporate America is distancing itself from Donald Trump, as well as from his Republican allies. Companies such as Goldman-Sachs, Comcast, Ford, Coca Cola, and Hallmark have suspended political contributions, following last week’s rioting at the Capitol.  

“The U.S. business community has interests fully in alignment with the American public and not with Trump’s autocratic bigoted wing of the GOP,” says Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, of Yale University’s management school. 

“…It also signals that companies are growing skittish about lawmakers who backed Trump’s false claims of election fraud, possibly depriving Republicans of public backing from business groups who until recently were the heart of the GOP’s political brand,” write Josh Boak, Brian Slodysko, and Tom Krisher of the Associated Press.

One might wonder what took them so long.

In his last days in office, Donald Trump appears to be the Incredible Shrinking President, with dwindling clout, plummeting public esteem, and, reportedly, failing finances. It even appears that his days outside a prison cell may be numbered. 

Nevertheless, we should not assume for a moment that Trump’s influence will just fade away. 

Trump’s ardent followers—including those who showed up to desecrate the U.S. Capitol building and “stop the government”— are not going anywhere (except, perhaps, prison for awhile). No one has convinced them that Donald Trump will not remain president, or that the conspiracy theories about the election and the “deep state” are false. No one whom they trust is willing to insist on the truth. 

The 139 Republican Representatives and eight senators who voted to overturn the election results in favor of Donald Trump did so after the Trump-incited mob attack on the Capitol and on Congress. Many of them still refuse to say out loud that the election was not stolen.

The QAnon conspiracy theory has now slithered into a couple of seats in Congress. Two known QAnon believers, Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Colorado’s Lauren Boebert, were elected to the House of Representatives this year. Among other things, QAnon supporters believe that Donald Trump has come to vanquish the Democrats and the Hollywood elite, and abolish their satanic ring of pedophiles. 

Though not all Trump supporters buy into the fallacies of Q, or would stage an insurrection, they have shown their cult-like adherence to Trumpism, and their allegiance to Trump as their savior. Cult behavior doesn’t just disappear. 

Nevertheless, in five days, Donald Trump, the instigator-in-chief and the spreader of dangerous lies and conspiracy theories… Donald Trump, for whom Republican lawmakers became cowardly clowns… Donald Trump, impeachment record holder and widely considered the worst president the United States has ever had, will no longer hold the most powerful position in the free world.

McConnell Joins GOP Representatives in Agreeing With Impeachment |
Bloomberg Quicktake: Now [2021-01-13]

Trump becomes 1st president impeached twice, Senate trial up next | ABC News WNT [2021-01-13]

Editorial: ‘Twas the Month After Christmas

’Twas the month after Christmas, and the Senate and House
Had just passed a relief bill that Trump tried to douse.
The people had suffered in the pandemic scare:
Sick, fearful, and jobless; Trump had nary a care.

He was pardoning cronies convicted by Feds,
As authoritarian visions danced in his head.
MAGAs in their T-shirts and red MAGA caps
Were hopelessly lost in their intellectual naps.

They’d left Facebook for Parler, and embraced QAnon,
And the conspiracy theories…they quickly latched on. 
“Covid’s a hoax! Fauci is lying!
The vaccine injects microchips that *They* use for spying!”

Though more than two months had passed since the election,
The MAGAs were calling for vote redirection.
“Overturn the votes!” They shouted and tweeted.
“The election was stolen! Trump won’t be defeated!”

“I won the election,” Trump repeatedly whinged, 
Proving to all, he was completely unhinged.
A pandemic was raging, the country in trouble,
But Trump wasn’t concerned as he hid in his bubble.

When out on the Mall there arose such a clatter,
Trump sent Donald Junior to see what was the matter.
Junior opened the window, threw up on the sash. 
(He’d been up all night partying and was starting to crash.)

The sun on the crest of the snow on the Mall
Gave a feeling of panic to Donald the Small.
When what to his watering eyes should appear,
But a man in aviators, a mask, and white hair.

With U.S. Secret Service walking alongside him,
Junior knew right away that it must be Joe Biden.
Biden spoke a soft word, then went straight to his work-
Calling out the Trump aides with a list like a clerk:

Out, Donald, Out, Junior,
Ivanka and Jared!
Go, Miller, and Kudlow,
Out, Kayleigh and Eric!

Now Pompeo, Mnuchin, Ben Carson and Barr,
Leave, VP Mike Pence and Alex Azar!
Mark Meadows, Navarro, and Betsy Devos,
Now dash away all of you! I’m the new boss!

And in the White House, there arose such a clatter
As Trump’s cabinet and advisors started to scatter. 
The door of the White House opened with a shout,
As four uniformed officers escorted Trump out.

Trump’s cruel little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And he kept on repeating, “I won! I won’t go!”
“C’mon, man,” said Biden. “Act like an adult.”
“Not joking. You’re leaving…And please take your cult.”

“You’ve held up the Defense Bill, and covid relief. 
You’ve belittled our soldiers, Mr. ‘Commander-in-Chief.’
You’ve sown huge division, racism and hate…
And let’s just not talk about your Secretary of State.”

Then Biden looked into the camera (they social distanced that day),
And said, “Folks! Just hang in there, cause I’m on my way!
Then they heard him exclaim, despite ex-President Cheddar,
“Happy Holidays, all! Now let’s build back better!”

*with admiration for Clement Moore

Trump’s Every Tweet is an Admission of his Incompetence. Plus, the Case for Prosecuting Donald Trump | Glenn Kirschner [2020-12-28]

Biden says Inauguration Day events may look different due to pandemic |
CBS News [2020-12-04]