As if the United States could not possibly be any more divided, the rift deepened this past week with the culmination of the Senate impeachment trial, only the third in the country’s history.
Democrats, as you may recall, had no issue passing the two articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives in December. President Donald Trump was impeached on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in light of foreign aid being withheld from the Ukraine and a subsequent investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Almost immediately, the Republican-controlled Senate vowed to shoot the whole effort down, labeling the move as a hoax or simply a partisan ploy to get the controversial leader that currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue out.
Try as they might, the Democrats knew going into last month’s trials there was no way the GOP would have enough senators jump ship and vote against the president. Calling witnesses was another motion that failed to make it through the Senate chambers, meaning key figures, like former National Security Adviser John Bolton, never got the chance to testify. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., even held the articles off from the Senate floor for weeks, claiming several times that the trial would not be granted due process.
So why did Democrats make the effort in the first place? I’m not often one to be political, but this whole thing has me flustered.
I will say one curveball had me doing a double take. Sen. Mitt Romney, R.-Utah, voted to convict the president on abuse of power — a move that made him the first senator in the history of our democracy to vote against his own political party. As for what led him to do so, Romney said he wouldn’t have done what was right had he crossed the aisle.
“Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience,” Romney said in an address to his fellow senators.
The first article of impeachment resulted in a 52-48 vote to acquit. Likewise, the article concerning obstruction of Congress also failed to convict, falling right along party lines, 53-47.
Nothing sums up my feelings about all this malarkey, to use a Joe Biden term, more than the conclusion of the State of the Union address – also known as “the rip heard ’round the world.” Trump refused to shake hands with Pelosi. Then came the big moment, at the end of Trump’s address: Pelosi took her copy of the address and ripped it in two. If that doesn’t equate their relationship to a couple of second graders roughhousing on the playground, I don’t know what does.
The bottom line: Hope and pray to God we don’t have another impeachment for a long while.