Should Senate focus efforts on Trump impeachment over pandemic response?


Fact Box

  • As of Friday, February 12, there have been 28 million coronavirus cases in the United States, with 492,504 reported deaths.
  • On Thursday, President Biden reported the finalization of a coronavirus deal to “vaccinate all Americans.” He purchased an additional 200 million vaccine doses. 
  • Only four presidential impeachments have been enacted by Congress in all US history: Andrew Johnson (1868), Bill Clinton (1998), and Donald Trump (who provides half). Trump’s first impeachment concluded February 2020 and his second began January 12, 2021. No President, so far, has been convicted. 
  • The final vote for Trump’s impeachment will come Saturday morning. The arguments follow the Capitol riot, Trump’s tweets, and video footage. 
  • According to a Washington Examiner poll, 60% of voters believe the impeachment is a waste of time and money and prefer focus on the pandemic.
  • Politicians claim that Trump’s impeachment trial is backed by the fear that he will run for office in 2024. If impeached, he will be barred from doing so.

Morgan (Yes)

The impeachment of former President Donald Trump is an issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. If the US Senate postpones his impeachment trial to a later date or lets the trial drag on, he will inevitably try to dismiss the entire thing. Jumping on it now while the trial is happening will ensure that Trump will be held accountable to the full extent.

The United States' response to the COVID-19 pandemic can't be expanded at the moment. Vaccines are rolling out, and citizens are still being encouraged to mask up and socially distance. Until all of the vaccines are administered, the country can't do more than what we've been doing to continue to prevent the spread. 

This impeachment trial is serving as an example for all future presidents: inciting violence and disrespecting US democracy will not be tolerated. Trump encouraged the violence that occurred at the Capitol on January 6th, and according to NPR's interview with Democratic Representative Ted Lieu, he didn't condemn it either. Lieu said Trump's first remarks about the Capitol Riot 'came with adoration, rather than condemnation.' Trump needs to be held accountable to ensure this never happens again. 

According to CNN, the case against Trump is strong: 'The facts, however, are not on the side of Trump's lawyers on this one. Trump had been insisting for months [...] that the election had been stolen'. He incited the violence seen during the Capitol Riot. Those who respect the US democratic process and understand that Trump is in the wrong and needs to be used as an example will favor his impeachment being as quick as possible. 

Kevin (No) 

Since 45 Republican Senators voted against holding the trial in the first place, and since two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict, the second Trump impeachment is unlikely to end in a conviction. Meanwhile, Americans are going hungry and losing their homes. In July 2020, CNN reported that 'nearly 30 million out of 249 million respondents' to a survey conducted by the US Census Bureau reported, 'they did not have enough to eat at some point in the week before July 21st.' Despite the moratoriums that have been in place, people are still being evicted in places around the country.

The Washington Post did an 'analysis of public records for 125 defendants' that were involved in the January 6th attack on the Capitol and found that 'nearly 60 percent' of those being charged in relation to the attack 'showed signs of prior money troubles.' Not to suggest that pandemic relief would miraculously heal the division in this country, but the added stress of survival pressure is undoubtedly adding fuel to the fire during a crucial time. University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato notes that COVID relief 'is the more important item, at least in terms of how the public evaluates what Congress is doing,' as opposed to impeachment. These things suggest that relief would do more to both foster unity and restore faith in our institutions than going after Trump will. Keeping people fed and housed should have been a higher priority than another failed impeachment trial.

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