By William J. Furney
It doesn’t matter that Donald John Trump will most likely survive attempts to topple him, after the Senate votes to acquit the contentious American leader in a trial expected to get under way in January; Trump will never escape the indelible fact that he was impeached.
The 73-year-old Republican is only the third president in the history of the United States to suffer the humiliation of being charged under Article Two for the US Constitution, which states that “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
A sombre Nancy Pelosi, the bombastic House speaker, took muted delight in announcing the impeachment vote earlier this week by her fellow Democrats on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress — casting a furious Trump into the exclusive Impeachment Club that also counts Andrew Johnson (way back in 1868) and Bill Clinton (130 years on, in 1998) as members; neither, however, was subsequently found guilty of their alleged crimes against the constitution.
Hillary, who in 2016 had thought the presidential crown was hers but was denied the glittering prize even though she won almost 3 million votes more than Trump, didn’t waste any time in lashing out at her friend-turned nemesis, tweeting: “The president has abused his power — using his office to further not the nation’s objectives but his own personal, political objectives — and, together, we are holding him accountable. Feel proud. Keep going.”
Trump — who has been charged with withholding $400 million in aid to Ukraine in an attempt to get dirt on a potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden (nearly 80), and failing to cooperate and trying to block the House probe into his supposedly illegal behaviour — is not waiting around and wants a trial right now! We might wonder what Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky could possibly know about Obama’s vice president; but then the youthful leader is a former comic, and Trump an ex-reality TV star, so it’s a kind of weird entertainment-matrix rabbit hole.
But the accidental leader of the free world — at one time a Democrat and who said he would only run for the nation’s top office as a Republican, because of the party’s sizeable “redneck” voting base and who during the last election Hilary branded a “basket of deplorables” — is nothing if not an opportunist, using the most dire of situations to try and turn things around, into a positive and beneficial outcome for himself. After all, how many times has the “billionaire” been bankrupt?
He and his election-campaign team have coined a new and equally decisive phrase, “us vs them”, to try and portray the impeaching Democrats as desperate and use the process to his advantage, the Associated Press reports. “In reality, they’re not after me. They’re after you. I’m just in the way,” the news agency quoted Trump as saying in a pinned tweet that has since been deleted and replaced by a patriotic puff video with a Trump voiceover and featuring the military, his Mexico wall and a bold declaration that “a our best days are yet to come!”
Sometimes — oftentimes — it seems as though America is ruled by tweet.
Republican voters are irate at the Machiavellian machinations in the US capitol, with the Republican National Committee recording 600,000 new donors since impeachment proceedings started and $10 million in donations of small amounts as Trump was being impeached last week, AP reported.
“This lit up our base, lit up the people that are supporters of the president. They’re frustrated; they’re upset; and that motivates voters,” campaign manager Brad Parscale was quoted as saying. Democrats, he said, “have ignited a flame underneath them.”
The question now is not will Trump be convicted of impeachment; he won’t, as he has the numbers in the Senate, and he will work like a bull to turn any declining Republican sentiment around. The question is: Will this most peculiar of American presidents be re-elected next November? A one-term US president is another kind of humiliation — and a separate and exclusive club entirely — as it represents a thorough rejection by the electorate, and the famously thin-skinned and big-ego Trump, who plasters his name all over towering towers, would surely be extraordinary devastated and might never even recover his bluster.
As Trump spends the holidays in another club of his making — the declining-revenue Mar-a-Lago in sunny Florida, escaping the bitter chill of Washington — he will have time to come up with a strategy to make the ultimate and final winning deal with the American people.
“You’re fired!” are words he loves to say but certainly does not want to hear.