With former President Donald Trump facing impeachment, division and hostility remain abundant in the U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that these divisions have paralyzed the country and turned it into a “country of people that hate each other.”
After the breach of Capitol Hill, which interrupted the vote-counting procedure and resulted in the death of five people, the house moved to impeach Trump on January 13, accusing him of inciting insurrection. This made him the only President to be impeached twice. His first impeachment was in December 2019, under the allegations of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, but the Senate acquitted Trump of the charges in February 2020.
The key motive for Trump’s impeachment is to make him ineligible to run in the next Presidential election. Some scholars have argued that an impeachment trial after a president leaves office is unconstitutional, while others say that it is fine as long as the trial began while the president was still in office.
All of the Democrats and 10 Republicans in the House voted for Trump to be impeached. “An early vote to dismiss the trial probably would not succeed, given that Democrats now control the Senate. Still, the mounting Republican opposition indicates that many GOP senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him,” Global News reported.
While Trump has enjoyed widespread approval among a broad range of American conservatives, division, and tensions in the U.S. have now spilled into the GOP, where many members have strongly rebuked the President’s Capitol Hill speech and Twitter statements on January 6, supporting his impeachment. “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said. “If not, what is?”
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said: “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
Rubio, on the other hand, strongly opposes the impeachment. He believes that while Trump “bears responsibility for some of what happened,” he thinks that it is “arrogant” for Democrats to pursue the impeachment with the motive of eliminating his future prospects to run as President.
“I think the trial is stupid — I think it’s counterproductive — we already have a flaming fire in this country and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire,” Rubio said.
Federal law enforcement agencies have been examining numerous threats made recently to members of Congress who will be voting on Trump’s impeachment. Most of these threats were made through online chat groups. The AP reported that a Proud Boys supporter, who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home, threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington; specifically, he threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, (D-Ga.) and has been arrested. A Texas man who was posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), has also been arrested.