By Allison Li
Photo: Los Angeles Times
It is highly disappointing that the Senate failed to impeach Trump for a second time. Trump’s acquittal is not necessarily a surprise, given that the Senate is heavily divided. Nevertheless, falling short of the required vote of 67 in favor of convicting Trump, the vote was 57 in favor (including seven Republicans) to 43 against.
The facts are there, regardless of how Trump’s lawyers may try to twist it. Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric has undermined the democratic process. From pressuring Georgia to “find” votes to turn the election in his favor and inciting the Capitol mob (events that occurred just during the first week of 2021, to put things in perspective), Trump has gotten away with violating the Constitution time and time again.
Trump’s legal team appears to base their case on the “unconstitutionality” of impeaching a former President, with 44 Republicans voting that it was unconstitutional to try a president after he left office. However, precedent must be followed – and 145 years ago, secretary of war Wiliam Belknap was impeached after he resigned. It is well within the Senate’s power to impeach Trump, and it is something we must do to hold Trump accountable for his crimes against our democracy. Trump has failed in so many aspects during his presidency, yet we have tolerated his extreme actions. We cannot remain complacent any longer, which is why it is important that the impeachment trial was still held, regardless of its outcome.
Another aspect of the argument against convicting Trump is that Democrats are attempting to gain more power and to disenfranchise the people who voted for Trump’s reelection. They claim this despite the undeniable fact that the voter fraud lawsuits have all been dismissed as invalid. The people who voted for Trump were not disenfranchised, it is a simple fact that Biden had more votes. Again, a consistent denial of fact can be seen.
The fact is that the Capitol riots have left a dark mark on American history. The facts are that Trump claimed the democratic process was fraudulent – with no basis – and attempted to overturn the election results.
The facts are that Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, telling him “I just want to find 11,780 votes”. However, Trump’s attorney attempted to argue that the word “find” was taken out of context due to an “inexplicable, dramatic drop in Georgia’s ballot rejection rates”, which there is no solid evidence for. Here is yet another example of the denial of facts and the twisting of words. There is hard evidence of Trump pushing Raffensperger to overturn Georgia’s election results, but there are many people who insist on staying ignorant of it.
In a society where federal officials will deny the facts to fit their own personal interest, how can we trust the government to protect our rights? The problem is not limited to just Trump, but the government officials who have tolerated and enabled his behavior. And because Trump has not been convicted, he may still run for President in the future. Although out of office, it is clear that Trump’s rhetoric will allow him to strengthen the divides within our country.
On a more hopeful note, a criminal investigation has been opened on Trump’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results. According to prosecutor Fani T. Willis, potential violations of state law include “the solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.” This investigation also applies to the actions of Trump’s allies. And if Trump is convicted of a state crime, a federal pardon would not be applicable. Trump is also facing an ongoing criminal fraud inquiry into his finances and a civil fraud inquiry.
We must acknowledge that although Trump was voted out, he still received 74,222,958 votes. He may be out of office for the time being, but the division in our country has become more severe than ever. Regardless, it does not matter which political opinion is “right”. What matters is upholding the truth, and upholding the Constitution.