Trump Impeachment II Was Just as Awful as the Original

www.newyorker.com
7 min read
fairly difficult
Susan Glasser writes about Donald Trump's second impeachment, following the attack of an insurrectionist mob in the Capitol, and the loyalty of House Republicans to the departing President.
This time was no different. At least not for the vast majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives. Never mind the deadly rampage of the pro-Trump mob that endangered their own lives, and the President's direct role in setting that mob loose on the Capitol. When the House of Representatives returned to the scene of the crime on Wednesday, for the first-ever second impeachment of a President, the result was drearily predictable: Democrats supported it and, with a few exceptions, Republicans didn't.

And so the second impeachment of Donald John Trump, just like his first impeachment, will go down in history not as an exercise in forcing the President to face consequences for his actions but as a stark confirmation of how in thrall to Trump the Republican Party remains. In a way, it was as heartbreaking for American democracy as the violent mayhem that triggered it just a week ago. Democrats on Wednesday spoke of "accountability," and "responsibility"; Republicans of "unity" and "moving on." The result, of course, was none of the above.

There was a chance—a remote one, but a chance nonetheless—that it might have turned out otherwise. Trump's behavior last week was as close as an American President has ever come to mounting a direct assault on the Constitution. Perhaps Trump, in his final days in office, at last, had gone too far even for those who defended him all these years? "We love you," he had told the pro-Trump rioters, in a video released in the middle of the riot. And when it was over, Trump never apologized, never admitted culpability, or even any regret about his own role at the rally that morphed into the riot. Unrepentant, he told reporters on Tuesday morning, as he left for an ill-timed valedictory trip to the border in Alamo, Texas, that he had been "totally appropriate" in his comments on January 6th.

For four years, there has been a constant bit of suspense: Would the congressional Republicans who so clearly chafed at Trump's erratic rule…
Susan B. Glasser
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