Students at the University of Michigan, following the news closely after President Donald Trump’s second impeachment, are weighing in on the merits of impeachment and Trump’s legacy on American democracy.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 232 to 197 on Jan. 13 to impeach Trump, making him the first president to be impeached twice. The House charged Trump for inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6 at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. as the House convened to confirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.
Nine Michigan representatives voted for impeachment, including U.S. Reps. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., and Fred Upton, R-Mich., as well as all seven Democrats. Five Michigan representatives, all Republicans, voted against impeachment.
Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., issued a statement on Jan. 7 condemning Trump’s actions and calling for his removal from office.
“The President violated his oath of office and incited a violent attack on our Capitol and democracy,” Peters wrote. “He poses a clear and present danger to the American people and our national security. He should immediately be removed from office. I stand with many others – including the National Association of Manufacturers – in supporting the Vice President and Cabinet invoking the 25th amendment.”
Shortly after the House passed a resolution asking Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, Pence wrote in a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that it was not in the “best interest” of the country to remove Trump from office.
LSA senior Rye Yang said they believe Trump and his supporters were only able to stay in power because of unwavering support from Republican representatives who refused to abandon party lines throughout his presidency.
“I think it’s sad that at this point we’re celebrating what is essentially the bare minimum of fulfilling your oath,” Yang said. “I think that any representatives should support impeachment regardless of party lines just as a matter of integrity.”
In a speech hours before the insurrection, during which Trump supporters vandalized the Capitol Building and beat a police officer to death, Trump said he would accompany his supporters to the Capitol during the certification of results and called upon them to “show strength.”
“Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy,” Trump said. “And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you … We are going to the Capitol.”
Engineering sophomore Zain Kawoosa said Trump poses a danger to American democracy for touting false claims of election fraud and for deterring efforts for a peaceful transition of power.
“I think (Trump) is a danger to American democracy because no matter what happens in an election, unless there is clear and obvious evidence of fraud, the sitting president should never, ever cause problems with the transition of power,” Kawoosa said.
On Jan. 14, Trump denied inciting the mob and deflected by pointing to protests over racial injustice and police brutality in Portland and Seattle as a greater issue.
Engineering sophomore Brendan Nell said he believes Trump’s comments before the insurrection incited the violence at the Capitol and amounts to an impeachable offense. However, Nell questioned whether removing him from office days before the inauguration would matter. While Trump was impeached by the House on Jan. 13, the articles of impeachment have not yet been sent to the Senate, making the trial unlikely to take place before Biden assumes office.
“Does (removal) matter at this point?” Nell said. “He’s going to be removed in a week regardless. I will say I do think that his overwhelming claims of election fraud warrant extensive measures such as this.”
Daily Staff Reporter Julia Rubin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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