When Thomas Jefferson famously penned “when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,” he described the American rejection of King George. However, Senate Republicans should see how this same rationale applies to Donald Trump’s impeachment. Although impeachments are derided as political, biased and hypocritical, Republican senators need not fall into the trap of partisanship; instead, they can look past parties and politics toward more principled paths.
Although Republican leader Mitch McConnell stated, “Trump committed impeachable offenses,” many of McConnell’s colleagues balk at voting to convict. They fear political repercussions, but they miscalculate: Mike Pence’s loyalty to Trump ended with an armed mob chanting “hang Mike Pence” as they broke into the Capitol.
They also question the legality of convicting someone no longer in office, yet that legality is only in doubt because of a minor technicality in the Senate schedule. They pretend that an arbitrary scheduling rule allows them to abdicate their responsibility to hold the executive accountable.
Instead of fearing or doubting, Republican senators must prove that America is still dedicated to the standard of “justice for all” by convicting Donald Trump.