News/Op-Ed: President Trump Impeached A Second Time For His Role In Inciting Insurrection At Capitol Hill
by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief
On Wednesday, President Trump was impeached on the Capitol Hill insurrection’s one week anniversary, becoming the first President in U.S. history to be impeached twice. After already being embroiled in controversy for spreading baseless claims of a “rigged” election after his loss to President-Elect Joe Biden last November, President Trump’s last two weeks in office have been sent into a downward spiral after he incited his supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol.
The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for a historical second time in a 232-197 vote. The impeachment comes merely one week after he incited his supporters to commit seditious acts and storm Capitol Hill in a last-ditch attempt to overturn his election loss to President-Elect Joe Biden.
As the votes on impeachment were finalized, it was revealed that 10 Republican Representatives sided with Democrats and voted in favor of impeachment, making President Trump’s second impeachment the most bipartisan impeachment effort in American history. Most notably, Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Peter Meijer (R-MI) were three of the ten GOP House members to vote in favor of impeachment.
Since the House of Representatives has sped through the impeachment process in record time, President Trump’s fate lies in the hands of the Senate, although a formal Senate vote isn’t expected until after President Trump leaves office on January 20th, according to Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
Already, there is speculation that many Republican Senators can join Senate Democrats in formally convicting President Trump. If President Trump is convicted, there is growing belief that the Senate may also vote to ban President Trump from ever running for President again, as he has publicly considered runs in 2024.
The impeachment effort came on the heels of last week’s attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The Orwellian chaos will forever be remembered by not just Americans, but folks around the globe, as a protest-turned-riot dented our nation’s Capital and within an instant became one of the most appalling moments in American history.
Sparked by a rally from President Trump just moments before, his supporters invaded our nation’s capitol as Congress was in the process of certifying the Electoral College results that solidified the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden, who will take office in just a week in a D.C. area now being patrolled by the National Guard.
The United States of America stopped for a few hours, as the country glued themselves to their TVs and screens and watched as Trump supporters raided Capitol Hill and disregarded the rule of law.
The Presidency – as former President Ronald Reagan loved to say – is a bully pulpit. Usually, Presidents use their platform and higher office to provide words of optimism, hope and unity to the American people, while also being sure to speak out and bring awareness to specific domestic and foreign issues that the nation must address. Essentially, the Presidency being a bully pulpit means it’s the highest platform for social awareness and advocacy.
On Wednesday, January 6th, however, the Presidency was anything but a bully pulpit. In lieu of finally conceding his election loss to President-Elect Joe Biden, President Donald Trump used his Presidential position to foment violence and sedition.
Since his election loss to Joe Biden in November, President Trump has continued to repeat baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud, after filing lawsuits that have since been thrown out or lost by the President and his campaign.
As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) pleaded for their Republican colleagues to rethink their objections to the Electoral College results inside the Senate chamber, Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill and fought Capitol Hill police as they stormed their way and breached not just federal property, but one of the most important houses of power in the world.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) were the two main Republican Senators who objected to Biden’s election victories in the swing states of Arizona and Pennsylvania, amongst others.
As the two Senators presented their cases before Vice President Pence and the rest of the Senate, a mass of Trump supporters began to break into Capitol Hill, damaging federal property, breaking into the offices of Representatives and Senators and striking Capitol Hill police and security guards.
On a day that was supposed to be a day of celebration for Democracy, President-Elect Biden and his supporters as the Senate convened to certify the results of the Electoral College, terror riddled the hearts and minds of Americans nationally.
Merely a day after the Democrats flipped the Senate in the Georgia runoff elections and historically elected a Southern Jewish Millenial in Jon Ossoff and a liberal, black Minister in Reverend Raphael Warnock, sweatshirts bearing “Camp Auschwitz” and T-shirts bearing “6MWE” – which stands for “6 Million Wasn’t Enough” – in reference to the Holocaust – were seen being worn by Trump supporters on Capitol Hill.
Furthermore, as Trump supporters infiltrated the halls of the Capitol, many carried Confederate Flags – the first time in American history that the Confederate Flag was present inside the Capitol halls. Not even during the Civil War was the symbol for the Confederacy present within the Capitol.
The same Capitol that has been roamed throughout American history by various Senators, Representatives and Presidents saw itself being vandalized, looted and invaded with vile words and symbols of hate.
Blood was even spilled in the Capitol, with a woman being shot to death by Capitol Hill police for attempting to get through a barrier.
However, the woman who was shot to death wasn’t the only individual who died – three other individuals died of what was said to be “medical emergencies”, while policeman, Brian Sicknick, was killed by injuries inflicted in the riot.
In the aftermath, Congress returned safely and did their jobs – with Vice President Mike Pence formally announcing the certification of the Electoral College results which saw the Biden-Harris ticket win convincingly.
However, the successes and joys Democrats achieved by flipping the Senate, retaining the House and winning the Presidency were quickly washed away as days passed. As new information was released on the Capitol Hill riots due to pictures, news and CIA investigations, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle were livid at the fact that President Trump’s rhetoric was mostly to blame for inciting such violence – and, thus, the death of six Americans.
Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri was among the first Democrat to introduce legislation for Articles of Impeachment against President Trump despite Inauguration Day for President-Elect Biden being on January 20th.
Despite Vice President Pence denying the pleas of Congress to invoke the 25th Amendment against President Trump and become acting President for the remaining weeks of his term, the House of Representatives voted 223-205 on Tuesday, January 12th to call on Vice President Pence to strip President Trump of his power, primarily due to concerns with the President’s dangerous state of mind and uncertainty surrounding what he may do next.
The concerns over President Trump’s worsening mental state were made even more evident after he was banned from a litany of social media sites, most notably Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, and Google.
As arrests continue to be made for those participating in the Capitol riots and no-fly list travel bans are imposed, Capitol Hill police and Washington, D.C. as a whole are already preparing for the next challenge of quelling any dangers that may arise on Inauguration Day on Wednesday, January 20th.
While President Trump has already announced he will not be in attendance to President-Elect Biden’s Inauguration, with Vice President Pence taking his place, threats were made by Trump supporters and the far-right extremist group “Proud Boys” on the now-defunct conservative social media platform Parler that more violence was to be expected on Inauguration Day.
President Trump becomes the first outgoing President since Woodrow Wilson in 1921 to not attend their successor’s Inauguration, although Wilson remained inside the Capitol Building during Warren G. Harding’s Inauguration due to poor health.
In response, Capitol Hill police is beefening up their procedures and preparing for any scenario possible, in conjunction with the National Guard and Secret Service.
While the Insurrection at Capitol Hill is certainly going down in history books as one of the most shocking moments in American history and an attack against our Democracy by domestic forces, one thing is certain: bright days may very well be ahead.