Editorial: After attempted coup, impeaching Trump is a moral obligation

by NCR Editorial Staff

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In the late hours of last Wednesday night, when Congress reconvened after the insurrectionists had been cleared from the Capitol building, Sen. Mitt Romney spoke to his Senate colleagues. "We gather today due to a selfish man's injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning," Romney said. "What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the president of the United States."

A sitting U.S. president has incited an attempted insurrection in which people died. This calls for an immediate response toward removal from office. We have a moral obligation to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Stigmatizing Trump's call to overturn an election is the first step down the path of moral reckoning that must concern the nation. If inviting an insurrection against the United States is not an impeachable offense, nothing is. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rightly called the events of last week "America's Kristallnacht."

The fact that some Republicans are finally acting like Americans first, and partisans second, invites the Congress to strike while the iron is hot. A roll call vote will also expose before history who is, and who is not, willing to place country before cult.

The attack on the Capitol was premised on a lie, a lie that was repeated by the president and by his enablers. Violence is always wrong, but violence "in the service of a falsehood" is worse, as Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich wrote in his statement on the day of the assault.

The canard about voter fraud was egregiously false. More than 50 courts, many led by Trump-appointed judges, dismissed all legal challenges to the election result for lack of evidence. That slender fig leaf is no more, and an impeachment vote will shine yet more light on the lie. It will help end efforts to question the legitimacy of Joe Biden's election.

We support impeaching the president because there can be no real start at healing our nation unless we recognize how badly Trump damaged our democracy. The American people, in their wisdom, voted him out of office so his repugnant policies could be changed. Impeachment is about something else: the president's actions to try to overturn November's legal election and to undermine our democracy, by inciting violence.

Some of us were worried about this all along; others only saw the light after the protesters had broken down the physical doors of the Capitol and the metaphoric doors of democracy. Those who claimed all year that they were "pro-police" and "pro-Trump" must be made to choose, and to explain their choice to the mourning family of Officer Brian Sicknick, whose skull was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher by the insurrectionists.

This past weekend, as more videos of the assault emerged, our revulsion grew. It is too soon to move on without the necessary work of naming and rectifying what went wrong. If Republicans want "unity," they can unify around the articles of impeachment introduced in the House today.

Impeachment is the best prophylactic against the resurgence of Trumpism — or someone like Trump. It is the best way to start a national reckoning with our nation's flirtation with fascism.

A version of this story appeared in the Jan 22-Feb 4, 2021 print issue under the headline: After attempted coup, impeaching Trump is a moral obligation.

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