I abhor impeachment. It was foolish to impeach President Clinton. I am greatly disturbed that the Democrats impeached President Trump in 2019, and I fear it will start a precedent of the House impeaching every president of the opposing party.
The Framers rightly rejected the idea of Congress picking the president. Impeachment is Congress overriding the will of the States and the people. Whatever good may come from a presidential impeachment, it is certain to cause damage. A significant portion of the country will feel betrayed and attacked. Because of this, impeachment must be used sparingly—if ever.
I think it obvious that impeachment must only be used when the president has committed a crime, an unconstitutional act, or has used the powers of his office in such a foolish, malicious, or negligent manner that the very integrity of the Republic is jeopardized. However, even when one (or many of these criteria have been met), the good that will come from ending the president’s malfeasance must be weighed against the intrinsic harm impeachment will wreak upon the social fabric. Congress must be cautious, as there are many cases where, to ensure the preservation of the social fabric, the power of impeachment must remain dormant—even in the face of an unconstitutional or criminal presidential act.
Subsequently, the act of impeachment cannot be partisan. It must have a bipartisan nature.
On January 6, President Trump met this criteria.
When it became apparent Joe Biden was going to win the election, President Trump falsely declared victory. President Trump had every right to challenge the results in court, but he went far beyond that. He used the platform and power of the presidency to spew a plethora of conspiracies and alleged that Biden stole the election. He pressured and bullied state level officials. When the Electoral College spoke and every legal path to victory was exhausted, he continued to lie that the election had been rigged.
He began January 6 by demanding Vice President Pence unilaterally reject electoral votes from the swing states Biden won in violation of the Twelfth Amendment. When Pence refused, Trump threw him under the bus.
Trump spoke to a crowd of his supporters, many of whom falsely believe that an American election was stolen because of him. He told them to march to the Capitol to protest this theft, lying that he would be there with them.
Many broke into the capitol. These terrorists injured and killed police officers, shattered windows, trashed offices, attempted to harm the Vice President, and committed other crimes too numerous to list. Not since the War of 1812 has our Capitol been attacked in such a way.
As this treasonous behavior proceeded, Trump failed to do what was necessary to quell the insurrection. It was Vice President Pence, not Trump, who helped ensure the National Guard was sent in. At first, he only sent out a tweet, telling the rioters to be peaceful. As that was obviously not enough, he put out a video that began by repeating the lie the election was stolen and told the insurrectionists, “We love you. You’re very special.”
Later, President Trump tweeted, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
When the Senate later reconvened, Senator Ben Sasse gave a speech in which he spoke of the Election of 1800. He spoke of the peaceful transition of power when the defeated incumbent, John Adams, willingly left the White House and allowed his political rival, Thomas Jefferson, to become president.
The most important precedent in our nation isn’t Brown v. Board or even Marbury v. Madison. It’s the election of 1800 and the peaceful transition of power that followed. It is a foundational aspect of our Republic. As Senator Sasse pointed out, Europeans could not believe what had happened. The United States had proven that freedom could work.
President Trump’s actions leading up to, during, and after the insurrection allowed the precedent of 1800 to come under attack. His lies created a false reality in which violence was justified to stop an election from supposedly being stolen. Had the insurrectionists succeeded in overturning the election, it would have meant the end of the republic. As president, Trump failed in his duty to put the insurrection down, and used the platform granted to him to justify and praise those attacking our Capitol.
President Trump caused the integrity of the Republic to be jeopardized, and, in doing so, justified his impeachment.
Now two objections may naturally arise that must be addressed.
The first is that President Trump’s term will expire in a matter of days, so what practical benefit can come from impeachment?
It is true that Trump’s days as president are coming to an end. Nonetheless, it is important that he still be impeached as part of America’s responsibility as the leader of the free world, and for the sake of the Republic and the Republican Party.
The United States has always been the city on the hill that lights the way forward for billions of people yearning for freedom across the globe. President Trump’s actions allowed a pillar of the American Republic to be struck, and had it fallen it would have taken the Republic with it. The city’s lights would have been extinguished leaving the free world in darkness.
While the city on the Hill’s lights didn’t go out, they certainly flickered, and our enemies took note. Within hours, China was using the insurrection to further their communist propaganda.
Impeaching President Trump would show the world that the leader of the free world will not tolerate attacks on our elections or a president that undermines them. It would show that, even in the darkest of times, freedom and republicanism work.
Concerning the Republic, it is paramount that the precedent of 1800 be restored and carried out. President Trump has allowed that precedent to suffer tremendous damage already. Justice must be done for the damage he has already brought forth, and we must ensure that no further damage is done. We simply cannot allow a precedent to be set where a defeated incumbent feels he can stir up insurrection through his lies with impunity.
Vice President Pence has been presidential throughout this process. He stood up against Trump’s demands. He got the National Guard involved. He made sure the Senate did its job.
Should he occupy the office of the presidency these next few days, Americans and those around the world would see a good, decent man uphold his duty to God and country. They would see a president gracefully allow for the peaceful transition of power—just as President Adams did all those years ago. They would see a president go to the inauguration and understand that the American Republic and its democratic process are more important than himself. The precedent of 1800 would successfully endure another election.
Concerning the Republican Party, the fact is there is now a sizable portion of voters who have bought into Trump’s lies. From the terrorists in the Capitol, to those surrounding and yelling at Republican Senators in airports, there are many who want to see the Republican Party embrace Trump and his lies to the end.
Impeaching him would prove once and for all that we are a party of principles, not mindless worship of a man and his conspiracies. Plus, he would be barred from holding office, thus preventing him from taking the GOP nomination in 2024.
The second objection is far weightier. As previously stated, impeachment must be bipartisan. Some would rightly point to the fact Biden, Harris, and other Democrats are already using this as a club to beat Republicans with and accuse them of racism and insurrection. This line of attack is as vile as it is untrue. It must be conceded that, if Democrats choose to embrace this narrative, any hope for bipartisanship will evaporate and impeachment will have to be rejected.
But if the Democrats and Republicans can pursue impeachment on bipartisan grounds, it could prove to be far less destructive to the social fabric than impeachment generally is. Due to the nature of Trump’s malfeasance, those extremely loyal to him already feel betrayed and attacked, and they are going to feel that way no matter what.
If we choose to impeach him, what are they going to do? Storm the capitol? The harm that may come from an impeachment to the social fabric is negated because it has already been allowed to happen.
On January 6, President Donald Trump used his office in a way which jeopardized the integrity of the Republic, of our Republic. For the sake of the nation and the Republican party, impeach him.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.