So now many of Donald Trump’s most ardent enablers are cautioning against impeaching him for a second time for his actions on Jan. 6 to incite a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol building and for his election tampering phone call to Georgia’s secretary of state. They say they are worried impeaching him a second time will “divide the country.” Too late.
The extreme right has spent the last five years promoting conspiracy theories and disinformation to divide the country, and conservative Republicans have enabled that hatred and division by not objecting forcefully to it in a timely fashion like John McCain did after his election loss in 2008. More often than not, they have just rationalized it away to serve their own political or financial or evangelical interests. No, it is too late.
What is necessary now is accountability. The storming of the capitol by an armed Trump mob, ironically shouting, among other things, “Hang Mike Pence!” is inexcusable. Predictably, some conservatives are now trying to pin the blame on “Antifa,” a left-wing group that exists mostly in the disturbed imagination of Donald Trump. The FBI and Homeland Security just say, “there is no evidence of that.” Pence reportedly told a friend “after all I’ve done for him.” Sorry, Mike, but you should have seen that coming. Trump is about Trump. And conservatives always say they value loyalty.
As Mitt Romney said, they need to stand up and tell the truth for once. They need to tell the delusional 35 percent that constitutes Trump’s base that he lost the election fair and square.They need to denounce all the lies they have been winking at or outright supporting for the last 10 years from “Benghazi” and the “birther” lie that questioned Barack Obama’s legitimacy to the “election fraud” lies intended to derail Joe Biden. My guess is they will not do that.
The fact is the lies go back a long time. Recent “Medal of Freedom” winner Rush Limbaugh has been spewing disinformation and conspiracy theories for many years. Conservatives have eaten it up. To quote a letter I wrote to The Chronicle in 2017, “Trump is a nasty demagogue.” He is, but by 2016 conservatives had opened wide the doorway to hatred and division. Trump merely walked through it. Alex Jones and the QAnon conspiracy theorists are simply Limbaugh carried to the next addled level.
Impeachment would set a precedent to deter future Donald Trumps. He can be impeached and convicted after he has left office.
Impeachment would also prevent Trump from ever holding public office again. Likewise, censure could do that and probably be easier to accomplish.
Pence, along with a majority of the Cabinet, could invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office for being “unfit” to carry out his duties. Very demonstrably, he is.
Any wispy notion that Republicans are still “ the party of Lincoln “ was violently disabused Jan. 6 when the Confederate flag waved through the halls of the U.S. Capitol building. Lincoln fought a bloody Civil War to prevent that.