Wednesday, February 5 was the final day of Donald J . Trump’s Impeachment Trial. He had given his State of The Union Address the night before to Republicans , Democrats and Supreme Court Justices in the Congressional Hall. House Speaker Pelosi and Vice President Pence sat behind the president when he spoke. Throughout his speech, Republicans rose and cheered, even chanted “Four More Years” while Democrats on the other side remained seated and silent. Adam Schiff and the six other House Managers had a copy of the Constitution on tables before them.
Donald Trump was confident since he knew what the vote would be the next day. He claimed a rebirth of the country under his leadership with examples of growth that were challenged by economic experts the next day. He claimed that his leadership had brought a State of the Union that was better than ever before in “history”.
Viewers saw the bitterness between the president and the speaker at the beginning and end of his speech. When he arrived at the front, he shook hands with the justices and then walked up to the lectern. He handed Pelosi a copy of his speech and she reached out to shake his hand, but he turned to face the audience. When he completed his speech, he stood to strong applause from the Republicans and she held the papers of the speech and tore them apart vigorously.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Donald J. Trump was the fourth United States president to be threatened with impeachment. There were two in the modern era, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. One Republican and one Democrat. Nixon was approached by Republican leaders who urged him to resign to avoid a trial where he would definitely be convicted. He agreed and resigned from office. Clinton survived a trial where he apologized to the American people and was not convicted and removed from office. At the time, he had a 65 percent approval rating in the country.
On Wednesday, Chief Justice Roberts presided as The Two Articles of Impeachment were read in detail. The First: Abuse of Power. The Second: Obstruction of Congress. All one hundred members of the Senate were present. Roberts advised them of the procedure to follow to vote. Names would be called in alphabetical order. The member would rise and say aloud “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” .
For viewers watching on television, there was a large box with the scores of each party as well as the two Independents as the procedure happened. The final votes were 48 to Convict and 52 Not to Convict on Abuse of Power. 47 and 53 on Obstruction of Congress. The one vote difference in the first was Mitt Romney who broke with the Republicans to vote for Conviction.
Earlier in the day Senator Romney had spoken of why he would vote for Conviction. He has represented Utah for years and ran for president on the Republican ticket. He is a devout Mormon and the son of George Romney, governor of Michigan for three terms. His words stressed the meaning of the oath before God that the senators took before voting to be impartial. That oath was the key to understanding his vote. He spoke of what it would mean to his children and grandchildren as well as the people he represented in his state. His conscience was the key. He believed the evidence had proven the case against the president and he had pledged to keep an open mind and be impartial.
After the vote, political commentators called it a “Profile in Courage”. It was replayed since his decision had been televised earlier many times on political programs that day and the following day as well.
In addition to Mitt Romney, four Democrats who voted for Conviction are from states that Trump won in 2016 by very large margins. Doug Jones of Alabama , Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. It is a certainty that Trump will visit each of those states often and attack these four senators with his usual fury and insults as he seeks reelection in 2020. They all displayed courage and conscience in their vote for Conviction.
……………………………………Joyce S. Anderson