In honor of his historic achievement, I gift unto the world my single greatest linguistic creation: repeached. Yesterday, Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America, was impeached, for a second time, for incitement of insurrection following the storming of the capitol building on January 6th.
That he was impeached again is not surprising given the current makeup of the House of Representatives. More galling, undoubtedly, is that in this go-around, ten Republicans broke ranks and voted alongside House Dems in supporting impeachment.
As details continue to emerge regarding the riot, there will likely be many more consequences for other elected officials as well. It has now become clear that tours of the Capitol building were being held by congressional officials the day before the riot, and that many of the insurrectionists had detailed plans and blueprints of the Capitol building, including locations of unmarked offices for Speaker Pelosi and others.
Most jarring perhaps is the revelation that panic buttons were stripped out of some members of congress’s offices, including Squad member, Ayanna Presley.
Investigations into individual rioters have now been opened and are ongoing and expanding. It is expected investigations into seditionist behavior by sitting members of congress will be forthcoming, hopefully with severe consequences if proven.
What happens next for the President isn’t entirely clear. What is clear is that he will not be removed from office early; there simply isn’t time, and likely not the votes required in the Senate even if time weren’t a factor. The Senate won’t reconvene until January 19th, the day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already stated his primary objective will be focusing on the transition of power.
Impeachment hearings will happen at some point, however, and their ramifications could shape US political discourse for years going forward, particularly if Trump is convicted by the Senate. He could be barred from holding future office, none of which is to begin to speculate on other legal proceedings likely to come forward based on open investigations in the Southern District of New York and other jurisdictions.
Less clear is the impact this will have on the increasingly Trumpian GOP. Hyperbolic calls that this signals the beginning of the end of the Republican Party aren’t entirely unfounded, as cracks in the foundation do appear to be forming. Paradoxically this could also be an inflection point where party stalwarts double down in the hopes of a backlash mid-term election and reclamation of power.
It does seem a moment of reckoning is upon the Republican party, and over the next two years they will have to find a way to define themselves in the American political landscape, post-Trump. This could prove exceedingly difficult in the wake of violent party extremism coupled with a lack of up-and-coming rising stars. Old guard Republicans like Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and others have undoubtedly done irreconcilable damage to their own reputations and muted their own future political prospects, leaving the GOP with a very serious personnel problem.