Impeachment, the constitutional process of presidential accountability that has been cable news fodder and dinner party gossip for nearly three years, is finally here. This week the Senate will begin hearing arguments for, and against, convicting and removing Donald Trump from office.
No matter what happens in the Senate trial, Donald Trump’s presidency will forever have an asterix beside it. An asterix that tarnishes the one thing Donald Trump loves more than anything else: his legacy.
Impeachment will be a permanent, multi-generation lasting stain on Donald Trump’s legacy. A stain that no dry cleaner, or an inept personal lawyer named Rudy, can erase.
Donald Trump swore an oath in defense of the American experiment. However, Mr. Trump has spent his entire presidency in pursuit of using the levers of government and power for his, and his family’s, personal gain.
The president skirted the law, and basic decency, for decades as a businessman. As a 73 year old wealthy white man born into privilege the president is now, for the first time, experiencing what it feels like to be held responsible for his actions.
The prospect of impeaching the president has divided the Democratic Party for the entirety of the Trump presidency. A division that the president naively took advantage of when he withheld Ukrainian security aid in-return for Ukranian assistance in his reelection campaign.
Trump is now staring at the consequences of that naïveté.
Impeachment has rattled the president
For his part, Donald Trump has not handled his impeachment very well. His tweetstorms, meltdowns, and tantrums have reached breakneck speed.
The president, and many of his supporters, view this erratic behavior as one of his greatest strengths. Ironically, it is because of this perceived strength that has brought him to this point in his presidency.
As a result of his erratic behavior Mr. Trump explicitly sought foreign interference in the American election system. He sought help because of his paranoia of his own weaknesses, and the strengths of his potential opponent, Joe Biden.
Throughout impeachment hearings and debate, House Democrats showcased that Trump’s behavior has both undermined America’s institutions and have violated his oath of office. Now, the Senate will take next step in debating the fate of Mr. Trump’s presidency.
The president’s defense echos his talking points
One of Donald Trump’s mindless talking points is to complain that he’s been impeached because Democrats want to overturn the 2016 election. His legal defense team will echo the same talking point during the Senate trial. The defense team will argue that impeaching the president is a dangerous exercise in attempting to overturn democracy.
However, a fact missing from this weak defense strategy is that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by almost three million votes. A fact that routinely contributes to his insecurity as president.
Nevertheless, Donald Trump has been impeached because the voters who put him into the White House in 2016 have put Democrats in charge of the House.
In 2016 the prospect of a Trump presidency carried too many unknowns to count. It was because of those unknowns that Americans both voted for and against Donald Trump.
Now, in 2020, those unknowns have been answered.
Donald Trump does not revere public service like his predecessors. He does not view the awesome responsibility of being president as a platform to lead, uplift, and improve the lives for all Americans. Donald Trump views the office of President, and the federal government, as an instrument meant solely for his own well-being. And that is why his legacy is, and should be, tarnished.