The Senate should vote to convict former President Donald Trump

On January 6, 2021, hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump pushed past security checkpoints and physical barriers to illegally enter the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from affirming President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory. They chanted, fought with police, stole items from lawmakers’ desks and forced members of Congress and the Vice President to shelter in place and flee from the building. They documented themselves via selfies on their cell phone cameras. One protester was shot and three others died during the riot.

President Trump caused this political violence. He is an ongoing danger to the United States and must be convicted by the Senate. 

Since November 2, 2020, the night before the election, Trump has been falsely claiming that he was cheated out of his presidential election victory. His false claims of voter fraud have been amplified in 62 failed lawsuits according to AP News, and in conservative circles. Lacking the votes to change the results of the election, cynical senators and representatives planned their response as a last-ditch effort to appeal to Trump supporters in order to gain their future support. They seemingly hoped to win political points without risking actually overturning the election results.

Apparently, no one told the President that the election had no possibility of being overturned. Weeks beforehand, Trump began inviting his supporters to march in Washington D.C. on January 6, the day the electoral votes would be counted, for the purpose of insurrection, and said on Twitter, “It’ll be wild! (@therealdonaldtrump)” Many residents of the district and the surrounding areas were told to stay home or not to come into the city out of anticipation of chaos and violence over the course of the week.

On the morning of January 6, Trump threatened Republicans who did not plan to object to Biden’s electoral college win in a passionate speech in front of the White House. He encouraged his supporters to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue…[and]take back our country.” The crowd then walked down Pennsylvania Avenue and followed the president’s instructions.

When the mob reached the Capitol, members of Congress and the Vice President were forced to flee from their chambers and shelter for several hours while the police got the aggressive mob under control. Not only did this attack occur during an important Congressional ceremony, the U.S. Congress was completely unable to do anything for several hours. If there had been any other threat to the country during the time, Congress would have been unable to act on it. Not only did Trump and his supporters endanger the lives of hundreds of Congress people, the Vice President and the other staff that work in the building, they endangered the lives of the whole country by preventing Congress from meeting. Therefore, the issue with the act is not Trump’s political affiliation or his general bad-temperament, it is his utter lack of sensibility toward the lives of everyone in the country he leads.

As both Republicans and Democrats pleaded for peace online, Trump refused to let the D.C. National Guard support the Capitol Police. Trump finally released a video message urging protestors to go home, but also assuring them that they were doing the right thing. Late in the afternoon, Trump threw gasoline on the fire he had already built with a single tweet that shed light on his instructions:

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long (@therealdonaldtrump),” Trump tweeted, hours after the initial breach of the Capitol. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever.”

A sitting president of the United States incited domestic terrorism, interfered with attempts to quell it and praised the terrorists. This was the worst act of political violence since the Civil War. It was a blatant attempt to control the outcome of a presidential election through political violence. If we allow Trump to commit these crimes without consequence, this President and future presidents will be above the law.

On January 13, Trump was impeached for the second time by the U.S. House of Representatives. However, he poses a clear and present danger to the country. If Trump is not impeached, he could run for President again and pose a continued threat to the republic. The president showed no remorse for the actions at the Capitol, so it can only be assumed that he will do more harm in the weeks following this attack.

The only remedy to this regrettable reality is to convict Trump and prevent him from taking office again. Without punishment for this action, the message is clear: the President is above the law. If we do not enforce limits on Presidential power, eventually we could get a President with unlimited power. The Senate should convict Donald Trump.