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By Madilyn Cox

Freshman, University of Georgia

It is no surprise that following the riots on the United States’ Capitol on January 6th, the Democratic Party attempted to convict former President Donald Trump for the role they believe he played in the insurrection. However, I believe Donald Trump did not incite, nor encourage, the violence seen at the U.S. Capitol. The rioters’ acts reflected their own beliefs and free will. The Senate’s acquittal of Former President Trump was correct as he should not be convicted for the actions of other individuals. Convicting President Trump would have been faulty for three reasons: it is a partisan effort to further divide the country, an unconstitutional trial, and a thinly veiled attempt to prevent another Trump Presidency.

 Trump’s impeachment is not an attempt to heal a nation divided, but, rather, keep the wounds open while causing a political hot stir. Senator Rand Paul said it best as he stated, “Democrats claim to want to unify the country, but impeaching a former president, a private citizen, is the antithesis of unity.” This impeachment was a rushed effort that had no prior hearings. It added to the percentage of radical viewpoints on both sides that divided the political canyon even deeper than beforehand. Trump’s conviction by the Democratic Party kept America stuck in the past when it should’ve focused on the future ahead. Because the Democrats hold majorities in both parts of Congress, it was self-defeating for the Democratic Party to pursue this course of action as it prohibited them from moving forward with the Biden Administration’s new policies. 

Along with “unity” becoming a national mockery, the trial itself was unconstitutional. Article II, Section 4 of our nation’s constitution states: 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. This constitutional clause requires that the individual must hold office at the time of their impeachment. Bruce Castor, Donald Trump’s defense attorney, explains that it is “impossible for the senate to accomplish” as the 45th President is no longer the current President nor is in any position of political power for this conviction. As such, the proceedings were void ab initio (of no legal effect). On the other hand, the Democratic Party used Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7 in their briefing, which states: Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor. This provision was used as justification for Trump’s conviction, but the Constitution does not explicitly state disqualifying former officeholders.

With this proceeding, it was also understood amongst both parties that if Trump was convicted, he would no longer be able to run for office in the future. Despite Trump directly expressing to American citizens in his speech that he knows “everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” Democrats still blamed him for single-handedly encouraging the violence. Trump’s legal team and a portion of public opinion believe the underlying motive of this conviction is to prevent him from running for a political office again. Within voting for Trump’s impeachment articles, there was not a single representative from the Democratic Party who voted in the opposition. This type of political condition can be seen as a collective effort to vote based upon their party’s lines and not for the trial’s individuality. Another fellow defense attorney for Trump, David Schoen, claimed Democrats “…hated the results of the 2016 election and want to use this impeachment process to further their political agenda.” Democrats are seen to be fearful of his re-election and searching for a way to prevent him from becoming a future political rival. Trump’s oppositional lawmakers have not found a way to legally prevent him from being re-elected as there is no barrier other than Congressional conviction. Thus, they resorted to the impeachment trial. 

The Democrats like to brand themselves as the party of unity in America. However, their unconstitutional excuse to keep Trump out of office defeated their own values and further divided this country. Being constantly reminded about the actions and decisions of free individuals, not Trump, on January 6th is stopping the progression of America.

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