|Late and Inadequate||
13 January 2021
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
The Democratic Party leadership tried to give Mike Pence and the cabinet an honorable way out of their current mess. They passed a resolution yesterday calling on the vice president and the department heads to invoke Section 4 of Amendment XXV to the US Constituttion. This allows the removal of the president from office. Mr. Pence sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the vote was even cast saying he would not take that path. Consequently, the House will vote to impeach President Trump for a second time later today.
A week from today, Joe Biden will take the oath of office as president, ending the Trump era. Some believe that simply playing out the clock is adequate. Just get the country through the next 7 days, and all will be well. If Mr. Trump's sins were of a less magnitude, for instance, financial fraud preceding his presidency, one might entertain that idea. However, he incited an insurrection in the nation's capitol that cost five lives. A week is, indeed, a long time in politics, and Mr. Trump can do a lot more damage if he has seven more days in the Oval Office.
The world has been down this road before with Mr. Trump. Less than a year ago, the House impeached him for what amounted to an abuse of power. He withheld military aid from Ukraine in an attempt to force Kyiv to investigate Hunter Biden's business activities in that country, hoping to undermine the candidacy of Joe Biden, Hunter's father. The vote to impeach went along party lines with no Republican willing to uphold the Constitution. In the US Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ensured that there were no witnesses called in the "trial," and only Utah's Mitt Romney voted for conviction on one of the two articles.
The ignominy this time around is likely to be less broad. Some GOP legislators have already promised to vote for impeachment. This morning's Washington Post reported, “Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican, and Rep. John Katko (N.Y.), the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, both publicly held Trump responsible for last Wednesday’s violence. They were later joined by Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.).” The White House expects 10-20 defections in the lower house.
What is more astonishing is the attitude of Senator McConnell. Having cosetted the president for the last 4 years, he seems to have broken with Donald Trump. Or as reported in the New York Times, “Senator Mitch McConnell has concluded that President Trump committed impeachable offenses and believes that Democrats’ move to impeach him will make it easier to purge Mr. Trump from the party, according to people familiar with Mr. McConnell’s thinking.” One of senator's aids has said the leader will not whip the vote, meaning each senator may vote as he or she pleases.
Removing the president from office requires a 2/3 majority of senators present, not 67 votes out of 100. It would be simple for 25 GOP members not to turn up to vote. Mr. Trump would lose office on a 50-25 vote in that instance, and the Democrats have 50 seats.
The need to impeach and convict stems from the gravity of Mr. Trump's crime. He assembled the mob, he enraged the mob with a speech, and he sent the mob off to the Capitol. Five people died, including Capitol Police office Brad Sicknick, who was bludgeoned to death. The mob killed a cop during its assault on American democracy. If Mr. Trump is not punished simply because he will be a private citizen this time next week, one must wonder whether the Republican Party has any interest in defending the Constitution so many of its legislators carry in their pockets.
© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.