An Apparent Divide In the Republican Party After Trump’s Acquittal

  • February 19, 2021
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the 450th mile of the new border wall Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, near the Texas-Mexico border. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On February 13, 2021, the United States Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump on one article of impeachment. The final vote was 57-43, with seven Republicans breaking party lines to vote in favor of a conviction. However, even though it was the most bipartisan vote for the conviction of impeachment, the Senators in favor of a conviction did not have the 67 votes necessary to convict the former president.

After five days of long debate, passionate speeches, and emotionally jarring videos, the vote ended the historic impeachment. Mr. Trump is the first president to be impeached by the House twice and the first president to have a Senate trial held after leaving office.

In La Canada, several students weighed in on the matter. In a social media poll, 157 LC students answered the question, “Should Trump be found guilty for inciting an insurrection?” Of the 157 participants, 71% voted in favor, and 29% voted against.

LCHS AP Government teacher Mr. Beaty said, “Trump was guilty of inciting an insurrection. What he said was directly related to and espoused by the crowd who stormed the Capitol. In any court, he could be convicted for that salacious language.” 

Just minutes after voting to acquit Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced Trump for a “disgraceful dereliction of duty.”

“There is no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” Mr. McConnell said. “The leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that shadowy forces are stealing our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things.”

The impeachment also opened Trump for a potential 2024 bid for the Republican presidential nomination. While Mr. Trump has not made an official announcement for his run, he said in a statement, “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it! We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future.”

Additionally, Trump will face several legal challenges in different states. “The Senate trial is not a trial, it looks, sounds, and acts like one, but it is political theatre and political practicality,” said Beaty. “The legal challenges will materialize in Georgia and New York, I cannot predict the verdict, we will have to wait and see until the evidence presents itself.” 

Beaty also mentioned that there is an identity crisis within the Republican party. He said, “Mitch McConnell, as the leader of the Republican party, was not an ally of Trump but politically aligned. Trump lost the election, but he did not lose the Republican party. The Republican party did not lose Trump. McConnell wants to know how he can get the Republican party beyond Trump, playing a calculative game by pleasing Trump supporters in the House and the Senate. He is going to give the cold shoulder to the Trump supporter voter because they believe McConnell sold Trump out. He doesn’t care about them; he cares about the other 49 Republican senators. McConnell is denying the power in this particular thing but elevating power in his caucus.” 

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