Jing Mae Wang
With the Mueller Report having been released on April 18th, we now know that President Donald Trump has lied and deceived his way to the Presidency, encouraging Russian interference. As Representative Tom Coleman put it, in his essay for the Kansas City Star, “The Trump campaign encouraged a foreign adversary to use and misrepresent stolen information on social media platforms to defraud U.S. voters. Because the presidency was won in this way, the president’s election victory brought forth nothing less than an illegitimate presidency.”
“Illegitimate” is a fitting descriptor, as Trump is one of the five presidents to have won the presidency without the popular vote. Many Americans hold negative opinions on Trump, even with more than seventy-five percent claiming they haven’t read any of the Mueller Report, according to a CNN poll.
“He’s honestly an embarrassment to our country,” said Isabel Betances ’20. “He gives extremists a platform, like when he tweeted a link to Breitbart. He sets a low moral standard for the country.” Betances isn’t alone in this opinion as, according to a 2018 Gallup poll, the majority of people rank Trump as having the lowest ethical standards of the past six presidents.
Knowing Trump’s moral failings is frustrating when remembering Republican pressure to impeach Clinton. Perhaps Republican Lindsey Graham in 1999 is the best highlight of this, when he said, “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role.” And clearly, Trump’s conduct is out of bounds for the President. But the issue now is whether Democrats are going to push impeachment.
“We should stand up for what we think is right,” said Sophia Korono ’20, a supporter of impeachment. “We can’t let someone who doesn’t care about anyone, not even our country, to hold a position of power. If we let him continue to serve his term then we tell future presidents and leaders of the world that we think that his behavior is okay.”
In her press conference on May 23rd, 2019, Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed some of her colleagues calling for the impeachment of President Trump. “The president’s behavior in terms of its obstruction of justice is very clear. It can not be denied. Ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice. Yes, these can be impeachable offenses. But impeachment is a very divisive place to go in our country.”
Pelosi is right about impeachment being a divisive topic. According to a recent ‘NBC News/Wall Street Journal’ poll, nearly half of the surveyed supported impeachment and nearly half were against.
Except, the fact that the split is so close just reinforces the need for impeachment. According to a 1998 ‘CNN/USA Today/Gallup’ poll, sixty-two percent of all Americans were opposed to impeaching Clinton, who had an approval rating at sixty-five percent according to the same poll.
Trump’s approval ratings, a dismal forty-six percent, are lower than that of an impeached president. Having less than half of the country in support of his presidency should not be a reason to let him off scotch free.
Aside from further dividing the nation, many leaders are concerned about wasting time and energy on something that will be shot down by our Republican Senate. This is, of course, a moot point considering that supporting Trump has and will have political consequences.
The people have spoken in 2018, with a newly Democratic House, and will continue to vote in upcoming elections. Americans voted for people who promised to hold Trump accountable and will remember those that defend him when 2020 rolls around.
Impeachment will only further that point, as there is a very good chance minds could be changed after nationally broadcasting Trump’s crimes. According to a 1974 Gallup poll, only thirty percent of Americans supported impeachment against Nixon when it was first being considered in 1973. However, this number rose to fifty-seven percent by the time he resigned. Even if Trump isn’t impeached, as Nixon wasn’t, there is a good chance that it may sway the public, hence swaying future elections away from those that supported him.
Unfortunately, holding powerful men accountable for their actions has become a partisan issue. We shouldn’t let this same issue divide the Democratic party.