Donald Trump’s political future took a heavy blow on Wednesday after the House impeached him for the second time, an unprecedented rebuke that could result in the doors of the White House being closed forever.
Ten Republicans walked across the aisle to join all House Democrats in declaring Trump deserves to be removed from office for inciting an insurgency, offering a wasting coda to the president’s inglorious downfall.
Unable to handle the coronavirus pandemic and persuade voters to send him back to the White House, the president instead inspired a violent, conspiratorial-fueled attack on the seat of American democracy.
The backlash against Trump in the wake of the Jan.6 uprising on Capitol Hill was swift, creating an unprecedented test of the grip of a vice he had held over his party since his political rise in 2016. The Riot the Capitol that the president helped instigate sparked a wave of resignations in the administration, led to his ban from Twitter and prompted business leaders to halt donations to Republicans who peddled false allegations of widespread election fraud .
The Senate is now due to hold its second Trump impeachment trial, likely after he has already left office. A post-presidential conviction could prevent Trump from running for federal office again.
While few Republican senators have stated their position on the issue, GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky left open the possibility that he would vote to condemn in a letter to his colleagues on Wednesday.
Whatever the outcome, the events of the past week have shaken the pillars of American politics and point to a difficult road for the Republican Party.
Trump’s impeachment will undoubtedly bolster his martyrdom among his most staunch supporters, who have touted the move as Washington’s latest effort to attack and undermine an alien who threatened the status quo. But several Republicans, including Reps Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and John Katko, spoke out strongly against Trump’s actions and voted for impeachment.
“It’s a vote of conscience,” Cheney said Wednesday. “This is an area where there are different points of view in our conference. But our nation is facing a constitutional crisis unprecedented since the Civil War. This is what we need to focus on.”
Some party members, however, have tried to have it both ways. Reluctant to defend Trump’s actions, they instead argued that impeachment had undermined President-elect Joe Biden’s call for the unification of the country following a presidency that has worn the country out. Trump was impeached by a vote of 232-197.
Trump, for his part, has maintained the same vaguely threatening posture that helped instigate the crisis in the first place. On Tuesday, he blamed the media and Democrats for “the continuation of the greatest witch hunt in political history.”
“I think this creates enormous danger for our country and causes enormous anger,” he said.
He released a statement on Wednesday, as the House debated impeachment, calling for peace.
“In light of reports of further protests, I urge that there be NO violence, NO breach of the law and NO vandalism of any kind,” he said. “It’s not what I stand for, and it’s not what America stands for.”
But the violent riot tested the loyalty of some of Trump’s longtime catalysts and allies. He alienated Mike Pence by tweeting that the Vice President “didn’t have the guts” to illegally declare Trump the winner of an election he lost, further inflaming his supporters before the riot.
Pence, on Capitol Hill at the time presiding over the Electoral College vote tally in Congress, had to flee the crowds with other lawmakers.
Several senior administration officials have canceled international trips or curtailed trips this week, fearing foreign adversaries seek to exploit the U.S. political crisis and a stressed White House.
Trump’s attention will now turn to downplaying the fallout from the impeachment vote on any possible second act in politics, while attempting to paint the consequences of his role at the origin of the riot as exaggerated and unfair. .
His most immediate concern might be securing the support of the Senate, which needs a two-thirds vote to condemn. More than a dozen Republicans are expected to join Democrats in removing him from office. As Trump’s electoral loss and his subsequent behavior eroded his position with many party members, only one GOP senator – Mitt Romney of Utah – voted for conviction in Trump’s first impeachment trial there. less than a year old.
Even out of office, a Senate conviction would be more than an embarrassment for the president. He would go down in history as the only president ever to be indicted and convicted, and senators could later decide to disqualify Trump from ever running for federal office again, a move requiring only a simple majority vote.
And fighting conviction could prove costly for Trump as well. Since he won’t be president, he won’t have a taxpayer-funded White House attorney’s office to defend him.
He is already facing increasing financial pressure. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would cancel some $ 17 million in contracts with the president’s company, Trump Organization, including deals to operate ice rinks and a golf course. Stripe Inc. said earlier this week that it would stop processing payments for Trump’s campaign.
And New York attorney general investigators continue to examine Trump’s tax records and whether he broke the law by making discreet payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with them prior to his election.
Impeachment could also mean the loss of pensions for President and First Lady Melania Trump, as well as federal funds for a post-presidential office and staff, although legal opinions are divided on the matter.
Separately, the president will desperately try to frame the impeachment effort within a larger narrative of persecution and grievances that he has channeled throughout his presidency.
It worked before, when his approval ratings rebounded following the special council’s investigation into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, and after the Senate failed to condemn him as a result. of her impeachment for pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into Biden and his son.
But Trump’s role in the riot – which erupted shortly after encouraging his supporters to march to Capitol Hill and “fight much harder” against his political opponents – is less complicated. Only 33% of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of his work in a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.
And the crowd scene on Capitol Hill only heightened perceptions that Trump had become politically toxic. Not only did the president fail to win reelection, GOP control over the Senate evaporated when two Republicans in Georgia lost despite the president campaigning on their behalf – all before chaos struck. takes place in the halls of Congress.
Trump is once again hoping to defy expectations by operating outside the mainstream, although his options may narrow. Fringe Conservative cable channels have found themselves under threat of legal action for echoing Trump campaign allegations of rigged voting machines, while Cumulus Media has told Tory radio hosts to stop suggesting the election had been stolen, according to Inside Music Media.
And Trump’s role in the riot cost him his most important megaphone, his now-suspended @realDonaldTrump Twitter account.
Trump has previously said he plans to launch his own alternative social media network in the wake of his ban and sought Wednesday to place his problems with tech companies into a broader conservative narrative alleging discrimination and persecution.
“They shouldn’t be doing it,” Trump said. “But there is always a countermove when they do that.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)