MINOT, N.D. — Disgraced President Donald Trump must be impeached.
Not, really, as a practical matter. He's soon to leave office anyway. But Congress was attacked by Trump's followers, incited by his vicious rhetoric disputing the election results and enabled by his inaction both during and after the riot.
Our legislative branch of government must send a message to the executive branch so that every president in our futures understands this sort of behavior has consequences. It should be a united, bipartisan message.
Sadly, I'm not sure our leaders in Washington, D.C., are up to that.
The Democrats are already cocking up the impeachment process. Those words accurately describe the current articles before the House that charge the president with "incitement to insurrection," which is perfectly accurate as a practical matter — Trump's actions — but more problematic as a legal question.
"Insurrection" has a specific legal definition, and it's debatable whether Trump's actions meet it.
Instead, Democrats should charge him with things that aren't in dispute. As former U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review, the House should "charge the president with (a) subversion of the Constitution’s electoral process, particularly the Twelfth Amendment counting of the sovereign states’ electoral votes; (b) recklessly encouraging a raucous political demonstration that foreseeably devolved into a violent storming of the seat of our government; and (c) depraved indifference to the welfare of the vice president, Congress, security personnel, and other Americans who were in and around the Capitol on January 6."
The issue isn't attracting votes for impeachment in the House. Democrats have the majority, and that majority would vote for any impeachment of Trump put before them. The key here is the Senate, where a supermajority of 67 votes is required to convict.
I don't think Democrats can get that with their current articles, but I think they could with McCarthy's language, especially in that it puts Trump's betrayal of Vice President Mike Pence, and the safety of both himself and his family, front and center.
On the Republican side of things, they're deploying a let's-move-on strategy to try and avoid impeachment, claiming it would be "divisive" at a time when the nation needs to heal.
Here's Rep. Kelly Armstrong making that argument on Twitter, though he's hardly the only Republican deploying it:
A rushed impeachment process would only further divide Americans, at a time when millions of our fellow citizens are hurting because of the pandemic.— Congressman Kelly Armstrong (@RepArmstrongND) January 11, 2021
We need to put aside the partisan attacks and bring our country together in the spirit of unity and healing. pic.twitter.com/4O8WOiJNbm
My rebuttal to the argument that this impeachment, in this moment, is too divisive?
So. Flipping. What.
Who is it divisive for?
The sort of people who believe Trump did nothing wrong?
The "Republicans" waving around the battle flag of the traitors the Republican Party was formed to oppose?
The people who stood by and chanted "U.S.A" while Trump supporters beat on a fallen cop, sometimes with American flags?
I'm fine with drawing a bright line between right-thinking Americans, patriots representing a panoply of political stripes, and the braying, thoughtless, violent, brownshirting troglodytes who still see a good leader in Trump.
It's past time we started moving the political extremists on the right and left back to the margins where they belong. We are overdue for a reckoning for their behavior. A moment when we stopped the hypocrisy of excusing it when it's our side and condemning it when it's the other side.
We need to stand together and reject not just Trump the man, but what Trump represents, which is a fundamentally un-American approach to American politics.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.