In a rare bipartisan move, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump, with seven days left before he leaves office following his defeat to Joe Biden in the November 3 General Election.
Charged by the House with “incitement of an insurrection” related to the mob invasion of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on January 6, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. Ten Republicans joined 222 Democrats in the impeachment vote.
Wednesday’s vote was historic, as it made Trump the first U.S. president to be impeached twice in his term of office, following his impeachment last year.
Despite being impeached by the House, and Wednesday’s being the most bipartisan impeachment of a U.S. president in modern history, some Caribbean-Americans are not satisfied with just impeachment.
“Being impeached by the House is like a slap on the wrist to Trump,” said Horace Mendes, a Trinidadian-American resident in West Kendall. “The Senate needs to be reconvened immediately to commence the impeachment trial, and hopefully, convict him before he leaves office. This will remove him in disgrace and without all the benefits former presidents enjoyed.”
The impeachment process has now advanced to the Senate for trial, but the Senate is currently in recess and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated it will not be possible to reconvene that body until January 19, the eve of Trump’s departure. While incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said he plans to discuss reconvening the Senate before January 19 to have the impeachment trial before Trump leaves office. However, there’s no indication from McConnell that he is so inclined.
It is more likely that Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate will begin after the Biden administration takes office on January 20, and be led by Schumer.
For Trump to be convicted by the Senate, 17 Republican Senators will be needed to vote with all the Democratic senators. Although up to Tuesday there were signs some Republican senators were leaning towards convicting Trump, there are no clear indications as many as 17 would join the Democrats.
On the other hand, there are reports that McConnell is “pleased” with the impeachment vote in the House, is angry with Trump’s involvement with the attack on the Capitol Building, and would like to “purge” Trump from the Republican Party. If there’s validity to this report, it is possible McConnell could exercise his influence to generate Trump’s conviction, even after Trump has left office.