Mostafa Kamal Majumder
A high political drama is now on in the US Capitol Hill as Democrats in the US Senate are seeking a conviction for former President Donald Trump against his second impeachment in the House while Republicans are divided between Trump critics and loyalists. Trump’s second impeachment, a record in US history, followed the January 6 unprecedented attack on the Congress by his supporters. As many as five people including a police officer were killed in the attack. Because of the loyalty of most of the Republican Senators to Trump or their party, the trial looks likely to end in a non-conviction as was the outcome of the trial of the first impeachment before the last November presidential election. While Democrats call Trump the ‘chief inciter’ of the ‘insurrection,’ some Republican Congressmen and Senators see the trial unnecessary as he is no longer in office. The 100-member Senate is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. A casting vote from the chair, Vice President Kamala Harris, can only give Democrats a marginal win. For a conviction the support of two-thirds of Senators is necessary.
What Donald Trump has done was inconceivable in the United States before him. He not only refused the accept the result to the presidential election but also made futile attempts to change the results to his favour by manipulating party connections in the Republican governed States and finally driving a large mob to stop the Congress from certifying the results. Trump did address the mob before the attack launched to obstruct work of the legislators.
Congressmen took cover under their desks as attackers stormed and shouted ‘Where are they’ in the chamber of the House, and ransacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s seat. The attackers also targeted the Senators and its chair Vice President Pence. Donald Trump’s politics of mistrust, hate and racism combined to create a psyche of madness among a section of the Republican rank and file and the white supremacists.
It’s sad, to say the least, about what Trump has done to the Republican legacy of great American President Abraham Lincoln whose immortal words of ‘government of the people by the people and for the people’ still inspires democracy lovers all over the world. Donald Trump by his hate against blacks, against women and the disabled ruptured the American democracy which over the last two centuries and a half created an inclusive society in the US. Trump also tried to turn a nation of immigrants into a hater of immigrants.
The American society however proved to be mightier than an erring President and it not only unveiled Trump’s sinister initiatives but also foiled those one after another. Even social media like Twitter and Facebook made a judgement on Trump’s intentions to utilise those to promote riots and suspended him permanently from their platforms. Republican rulers and officers in the States refused to concede Trump’s request to call elections ‘rigged’ as they found those properly conducted.
The courts rejected lawsuits by Trump loyalists against election results one after another. Finally, the Republican dominated Supreme Court rejected an appeal brought by Trump supporters. Some senior republicans openly criticised Trump for his apolitical moves and the second impeachment in the House was blessed with votes from a sizeable number of Republican Congressmen.
Yet it is very disheartening to see that Trump continued to draw sympathies of a majority of Republicans and managed to stage the mayhem on the US Capitol Hill. It’s very unbecoming of the decedents of America’s founding fathers who introduced democracy that passed the test of time. Some observers have commented that it would take decades for the Republicans to overcome the damage that Trump has done to their Grand Old Party (GOP). The atmosphere of mistrust in politics created by the former president however may take many more years to heal.
Mostafa Kamal Majumder