With Vice President Mike Pence being in double mind whether to invoke the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, to remove an “unhinged” Donald Trump from office, it is evident that the Democrats were left with no option other than pressing for the impeachment of the President. The House of Representatives, after arguing over the matter for several hours, has indicted Trump, recommending his impeachment for actively instigating riots in the Capitol. However, the Senate is likely to take up the matter only after Joe Biden’s inauguration on 20 January, thus allowing him time till his last day in office. While in the House of Representatives, nearly a dozen Republicans voted along with Democrats, it is yet to be seen how they act during the Senate session.
There is a looming apprehension that during his last week in office, Trump may behave in his characteristic erratic manner, further violating the spirit of the Constitution. He has scant regard for the institutions he was dutybound to protect as President, and as a matter of fact, has done everything in his power to desecrate them. He is a through and through maverick, and going by his past record, is not going to undergo a makeover in his final hours. Several Federal agencies have forewarned that there would be widespread violence by Trump supporters in every state of the Republic. So far as the Capitol is concerned, the National Guards have been stationed at every corner, so as to ensure that law and order prevails during the inauguration. Top military commanders and generals have pledged to uphold the Constitution to permit a peaceful transition. Questions have been asked as to why Trump should be impeached, since in any case, he was going to demit office. The most significant point to be noted is that if he is convicted of the charges pressed against him, he shall be debarred from contesting for the Presidential office for all times. This is welcoming news for many Republicans, who consider themselves as probable party nominees in 2024, and thus would have reason to support the impeachment.
Trump’s belief in the philosophy of white supremacist politics is shared by the majority of his supporters, who have nothing in common with what the Republicans have stood for. These followers are entirely rooting for Trump, and may even target those within his own party, who have decided to oppose him. The curious case of the outgoing President is similar to many leaders whose names are embossed in history for the wrong reasons; having acquired power through democratic means, they did not hesitate to transform themselves into despots or dictators, and in the process, usurping all powers. Such functionaries have no qualms of destroying democratic establishments. However, it goes to the credit of the deep-root reserves of democratic America, that even those appointed by the President, have acted in an impartial manner to stand by the Constitution. Trump had expected that the judges that were nominated by him, would facilitate him in overturning the election results. If this has not happened, it is because the rule of law and the belief in the Constitution have prevailed.
Trump has already created history by becoming the first President to be impeached twice and if his conviction is endorsed by the US Senate, he would lose his secret service cover for the rest of his remaining life. He also would not receive one million dollars annually towards travel expenses, which former Presidents are entitled to, besides being deprived of the yearly $200,000 pension. Therefore, it would be most interesting to witness the Senate proceedings, where the role of the Republican party members would be under the scanner. Back in India, in 1969, when Indira Gandhi split the Congress and put up V.V.Giri as the Presidential nominee against the official party nominee, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, she asked elected MPs and legislators to vote with their conscience. This led to Giri’s spectacular victory, enabling Indira Gandhi to strengthen her position politically. It is possible that the Republican Senators would also vote in accordance with their conscience, thereby leading to the impeachment being upheld.
Trump, like many other politicians, likes to misrepresent reality by giving it his own spin. He does not pause from using aggressive and unparliamentary language while describing his opponents, and has on several occasions, crossed the redlines that amount to infringing the accepted norms and conventions. He has never been a politician but has always gone by his business instincts. He does not consult those whom he should, and after his decisions go askew, he indulges in totally unbecoming behaviour. His supporters have shamed American democracy, which has become a subject of ridicule the world over. However, this seems to be of no concern to him whatsoever.
The violence at the Capitol has left most citizens shocked, and many hardcore Republicans, who in the past would defend the President, have been openly expressing their abhorrence over his exploits. In addition, two prominent Republican leaders, President George W. Bush and Mitt Romney have been most critical of Trump. The country stands divided straight in the middle as it had when the Civil War broke out in the 1860s. Similar is the case of the Republican Party.
American democracy is at the crossroads and it is imperative that the US Senate must act in conformity with their moral sense. Trump, thus may be, the first President to be successfully impeached. Between us.