Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office – immediately (see postscripts).
I did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. I did not trust his character. But the American people through the electoral process did.
Donald Trump is a narcissistic demagogue, more a P. T. Barnum than a Hitler, but nevertheless unfit for office. The American people, however, did not see it that way in 2016, and I did not see reason to impeach him a year ago. Removing a president is an extreme action justified only by “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The American people, by the normal Constitutional means, removed him from office on November 3, 2020, effective January 20, 2021.
After the events of January 6, I believe the Congress ought not wait to remove him from office.
Office – that’s the point. By attempting to obstruct the constitutional process of electing a president and the duly constituted body carrying that process out, for inciting a crowd to attack the Capitol building, the prime symbol of the American Republic – leading incidentally to the death of one of his deluded followers – Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, “so help me God.”
With great office comes great responsibility and with that responsibility comes accountability. He has violated the responsibility of that office, and he must be held accountable.
I am making this appeal as a Christian and according to the Biblical teaching: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom 13:1). In the case of the President, God’s authority is mediated by the Constitution. In violating the Constitution, Donald Trump has rebelled against God.
Not all governments have the means to remove the chief authority. In the days of the Babylonian Empire, God removed the mad king directly:
At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. (Dan 4:29-33)
In the case of the United States of America, God has delegated that role to the Congress. The Congress should exercise that authority posthaste and remove him, for God’s sake.
Postscript 1: My main goal in the post above was to argue that holding and exercising an office requires accountability, and that the President foolishly (at best) or intentionally (at worst) used his office to incite a riot. It is his actions, not his intentions, that are under judgment, and those actions have demeaned the fundamental institutions of the American republic. See my follow-up post on “The Office: the Lack and the Lackeys.”
One thing that drives me crazy in today’s society is hearing officials, when they are found out in wrongdoing, issue an apology stating that “I take full responsibility for my actions.” Then they just “move on.” How about resigning your office, sir, and repenting in dust and ashes. Of course Donald Trump never apologizes for anything, so it is hardly likely that he will take responsibility for the results of his actions yesterday.
I find the overall analysis of Trump and the election by Andy McCarthy on “The Risky Wager of Betting on Trump” to be the best I have seen. Writing on January 7 (and again on January 9), McCarthy states that “the conduct we’ve witnessed is impeachable, and I will not contend otherwise,” but he doubts that impeachment could be accomplished properly in the thirteen days left until January 20. I will defer to his judgment on the practicality of this matter, but the principle stands: Donald Trump should be removed from office.
Postscript 2: However, the subsequent careful analysis by Jason Lee Steorts has convinced me that conviction, whether before or after January 20, would be the right thing to do ethically and politically.
Postscript 3: Impeachment is now going to the Senate. There may be political and legal reasons to avoid a final conviction by the Senate, but as a matter of simple justice I think Donald Trump deserves to be be convicted. While I do not minimize the offenses of those who stormed the Capitol and the danger this entailed for the legislators, it does strike me that there was a circus atmosphere to the event. The clowns are now going to pay a steep price with years in jail. Should not the ringmaster – who later issued solemn statements against violence and law-breaking – share in their guilt if not their punishment?