There is justifiable anger in America currently about the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by the supporters of President Donald Trump. This was an attack on the very heart of our democracy and the U.S. Constitution. It was incited by Trump and his political allies. However, from Trump’s speech prior to the insurrection and from the video message that the president released on Twitter a few hours later, there is no clear evidence that he told his supporters to loot and murder. He said they had to show strength, they could not be weak but that’s hardly equivalent to urging them to do what transpired. He then told them in a video he loves them but they had to be peaceful. Did his continuous lies about the election since Nov. 4 lead to this? Yes. But political lies like these are not an impeachable offense. Trump cannot be proven guilty of incitement of insurrection in a court of law or in a fair Senate trial. The Democrats should stop wasting all of our times with this futile exercise.
Also, it is unwise to invoke the 25th Amendment because Trump may be dangerous but has not yet created a case for his removal. If he had released a video urging the mob to keep going, then certainly one would have a case for this, but the Constitution makes it very difficult to remove a president and I don’t think Trump has crossed that constitutional red line.
On a side note, it is an extremely dangerous precedent for the speaker of the House to urge the military leader to disobey the president of the United States regarding the nuclear codes. The president is the commander and chief of the military and he must be obeyed. It is vital for our democracy that it stays that way, otherwise we will have military coups. If the military leaders think that the pis unfit, he/she can urge the vice president to invoke the 25th Amendment; short of that, the president must be obeyed.
Instead of wasting our time with invoking of the 25th Amendment or impeachment, the Democrats should focus on tackling the issues that are important to the American people: COVID 19, climate change, extreme income inequality, corporate tax evasion, lack of access and high cost of health care, racial injustice, threat of losing our economic dominance to China — the list goes on and on. The Democrats have a short, two-year window to achieve many things because they will most likely lose at least one of the houses of Congress in 2022. Why waste even a single day on a futile impeachment trial?
Some argue that the benefit of impeaching and convicting Donald Trump is to prevent him from running for the presidency in 2024. To that I say, bring it on! If the Democrats achieve legislative success in the next four years, then they should dare the Republicans to put Trump on the presidential ballot again. The Democrats won’t just win, they will win “bigly!”
Neer Dutta is a citizen from Eagan who is a voracious consumer of political news (who says he probably should cut back).