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On Jan. 13, 2021, President Donald Trump made history by being the first president to ever be impeached twice. Trump was impeached the first time back in December of 2018 for “abuse of power and obstruction of congress.” The vote for his impeachment in December was 230 for and 197 against, and no Republicans decided to vote for the impeachment. This time around was extremely different.
After Trump incited his supporters to attack Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021, the House of Representatives called for another impeachment hearing. The House improved one article of impeachment for “inciting insurrection” and the vote was 232 for impeachment and 197 against. 10 Republicans decided to join all Democrats in the impeachment process. The Senate will reconvene to discuss Trump’s impeachment sometime after the inauguration.
There have been conflicting opinions about the timeliness of Trump’s second impeachment. Some people believe that Trump’s impeachment should have happened earlier.
“I think it was well-long overdue,” said junior Morgan Wellman. “I really don’t get into politics that much, but his relationship with other countries has been detrimental to our state in America, his relationship with minorities [like] Black people or the LGBTQ+ community, not incorporating and not wanting to encourage the progression of equality in American with transgender rights.”
Others believe that there is no point in having a trial this late into Trump’s presidency, especially since he will be out of office soon.
“Personally I’m not terribly upset about it since Biden’s inauguration is tomorrow so he’ll be gone soon anyway,” said junior Carolyn Black. “I didn’t really see the need for it considering the inauguration was so close. I just didn’t see the urgency to try to get him out of office when he’d be out 13 days later anyway.”
In order to be impeached, a president has to commit an act of high crime or a misdemeanor while in office. The House votes on the impeachment and the Senate plans a trial. Impeachment does not fall only on the president. The Constitution states that, “the president, vice president, and all civil officers [can be impeached] for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” (Article 2, Section 4). Being impeached does not necessarily mean that the president is removed from office because the Senate votes on that. It does not mean that the president has to serve time in prison because the Senate votes on that as well.
Trump’s impeachment in 2018 was a rather long process considering the Democrats who inspired the impeachment needed to conduct an investigation to make sure that their reasoning was valid. However, there is no need for an investigation this time because it was clear that Trump had encouraged an attack on Capitol Hill after hosting a rally earlier in the day on Jan. 6 2021, where he told his supporters to go to the Capitol in an attempt to hold up the certification of votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
AP Government teacher, Brandon Kunz, commented his thoughts on the unprecedented situation of a president being impeached for the second time.
“The next few months of enduring a second impeachment trial will most likely be divisive amongst citizens and political parties,” said Kunz. “I think we all need to be self aware of the way in which media and social media works. People tend to only listen to views they support or agree with, so if we all live in echo chambers, then it becomes more difficult to understand the ‘other side.’ Social media networks that use algorithms to keep you ‘plugged in’ only worsen this problem. We all need to realize that we have a responsibility to manage our online presence and not allow it to control what we see or think…regardless of what political ideology you adhere to.”