On Jan. 13, Donald J. Trump became the first president to be impeached twice. The response to the Jan. 6 attack on our Nation’s capital immediately prompted United States Congress to hold a second impeachment trial and investigation for former President Trump.
Back in late 2019, Trump was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. That charge stemmed from phone calls enlisting foreign powers, such as Ukraine, for potential election interference. However, he was acquitted by the Senate and was not removed from office.
This time around, Trump was charged with inciting an insurrection. About Trump’s Twitter posts and speech before and during the time of the Capitol attack, Diego Garibay, 10, said, “He used language that can certainly be seen an inciting.”
The possibility of a second impeachment became a controversial topic and hot headline. Adeline Rich, 10, said, “Nothing is unfair about a second impeachment. The Trump administration incited a violent riot at the Capitol, and there were consequences.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Lucus Covey, 10, said, “I understand why some might have wanted him gone the first time. However, the second was a needless act of aggression towards a public figure with different opinions.” Trump was impeached by the House before the single article of impeachment was transferred over to the Senate.
Out of 100 Senate members, at least 67 would have needed to convict Trump of the charge.
Ultimately, 57 Senators voted “guilty,” with 43 Senators voting “not guilty,” falling short of the required two-thirds majority. And with that, on Feb.13, Trump’s impeachment was dismissed yet again. “I’m just disappointed he wasn’t held accountable in any way for the actions of his followers, who took over the Capitol in his name,” said Garibay.
Even though the Senate was not in the 67 percent majority, Rich points out an interesting perspective. “I think that the fact the majority of the Senators voted to convict really was a great example of consensus and proves that even in such a divided America, unity is possible.”
As expected, every democratic Senator (including two independents) voted to convict Trump. On the flip side, seven republican Senators turned on the former president and joined the Democrats to vote “guilty.” Rich said, “I expected that some central conservatives would vote to convict.” She also added, “however, I was surprised when republican Senators Richard Burr, Ben Sasse, and Pat Toomey also voted to acquit Trump.”
Before the vote, Democrats had hoped they would win enough votes from across the aisle to convict, but this hope disappeared when it was revealed that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell would stay with his party and vote to acquit Trump.
Overall, the vote went as predicted – Democrats were unable to swing the two-thirds majority from their Republican colleagues. Rich said, “I was not surprised that he was not convicted. With only a few weeks left in Trump’s term, it was not realistic for the impeachment trial to reach its final stages.”
The public had mixed feelings about Trump being put up for impeachment once again. Some feared the damage that could be done in even the remaining fourteen days of his presidency, and sought to stop Trump in his tracks. Rich said, “It would have been irresponsible for the Senate to allow Trump to continue presidency after the riot at the Capitol.”
Also, another goal of a potential impeachment and conviction was to prevent the former president from ever holding office again. For those who supported Trump’s removal from office, it was one hope that Republicans who hoped to claim the presidency in the future would vote against him to ensure he could not contend with them.
But others felt it was unnecessary considering how close the Capitol insurrection was to the end of his term. “He wasn’t the president anymore, and the fact that people thought it was necessary to strip his right to run again is disappointing,” said Covey.