After storming the Capitol, many Republicans distance themselves from Donald Trump. Before the second impeachment proceedings, the US president becomes lonely and close confidants turn away.
The shock is still deep. After the angry Trump mob stormed the Washington Capitol, the heart of US democracy, the United States is trying to come to terms with this terrible moment. Since then, Donald Trump in particular has been pilloried. The elected US president has been driving the division of the country in recent years and is being held directly responsible for the violence by Democrats and parts of the Republicans.
Supporters of Trump storm the Capitol: Violence is also feared when Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20. (Source: Reuters)
Therefore, Trump received numerous low blows in the week after the Capitol storm. Many social networks such as Twitter and Facebook blocked the US president’s accounts, and shortly before the end of his term in office, the Democrats paved the way for a second impeachment trial against him. If Trump is still out of office, that would be more than a symbol, because he would then not be able to run for president again.
Above all, the possible impeachment is forcing many Republicans to confess to Trump or to confront him. But even the most loyal party friends are now turning away from him. After the attack on the Capitol, the US president’s power base in his own party lies in ruins.
It has become lonely for Trump. For some party friends, the Capitol storm was one escalation too much, while others want to minimize the political damage to their careers. Accordingly, senior Republicans in the Senate, Congress, and even the US administration are turning their backs on the president.
Sharp criticism in the House of Representatives
The Democrats have begun preparations for an impeachment trial that is due to officially start on Wednesday. A vote on the indictment is scheduled in the House of Representatives. The accusation is “incitement to riot”. The Chamber is expected to accept the indictment as the Democrats are in the majority in the House of Representatives.
Liz Cheney, Republican MP, speaks in the Capitol. The high-ranking Republican MP has announced that she will be voting in the House of Representatives for the impeachment of the outgoing US President Trump. (Source: dpa)
Because of that, renegade Republicans don’t matter there, but the Democrats still get support. Clear words came from Liz Cheney, an influential Republican in the House of Representatives and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States.” She referred to the oath that presidents must swear on the constitution. Trump fueled the pack to storm parliament. “I will vote to remove the president from office.”
This was also announced by other Republicans from the House of Representatives. However, there are also dissenting voices: Republican MP Tom Cole said an impeachment would “divide” the country further. Now it is time to “heal”. At the same time, Cole accused the Democrats of hasty action in their efforts to impeach Trump.
The decision is made in the Senate
The decision in the impeachment procedure is ultimately made in the Senate, the other Congress Chamber. A two-thirds majority would be needed there to actually condemn Trump. To do this, well over a dozen Republican senators would have to side with the Democrats. Individual Republicans in the Senate have openly opposed Trump, but have not yet said yes to impeachment.
But even there, influential Republicans have now distanced themselves from the current president. Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, according to a report in the “New York Times” is satisfied that the Democrats are seeking a second impeachment trial against Trump. This makes it easier for his party to break away from Trump.
Republican Pat Toomey, Senator from Pennsylvania, advocated the idea of a swift impeachment of Trump. But while he believes the president committed “criminal acts”, Toomey remains unsure whether it will be “practical” to remove him from office within a few days, he told NBC News.
“Selfish man” with hurt pride
Utah Senator Mitt Romney was the only Republican Senator to have voted for impeachment in the February 2020 process. After the Capitol Storm, he said in the Senate that a “selfish man” used his wounded pride to provoke the attacks . The indignation of his supporters can be explained by the fact that they have been deliberately misinformed for months.
Senators Susan Collins from Maine and Ben Sasse from Nebraska also didn’t rule out impeachment, according to CBS News. Sasse told the broadcaster he would “definitely give it a second thought”. A Collins spokeswoman said she would not comment on the impeachment.
It is hard to imagine that the Democrats would get the 17 votes they need from the Republican camp, because there are also dissenting votes in the Senate. “I am convinced that an impeachment under these circumstances will further divide the country,” warns Senator and long-time Trump confidante Lindsey Graham.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is said to have welcomed the impeachment proceedings against Trump. (Source: AP / dpa)
Nine senators have announced they will not support the impeachment, according to CBS News: Marco Rubio from Florida, Rand Paul from Kentucky, Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker from Mississippi, Roy Blunt from Missouri, Steve Daines from Montana, Kevin Cramer from North Dakota, Tim Scott from South Carolina, and Ted Cruz from Texas.
Pence turns away
But even if Trump’s impeachment fails – leading forces in his party have now turned their backs on him. US Vice President Mike Pence has been one of the most loyal supporters in recent years. But he too refused to block the announcement of Joe Biden’s election victory in Electoral College. Trump then attacked Pence, calling him “weak”.
The tablecloth between the president and his vice seems to be cut. After the storming of the Capitol, they met again and agreed on a joint transition, but pence is also said to have political ambitions.
After Trump’s electoral defeat, the elected US President is increasingly on a course of confrontation with his Vice-President Mike Pence. (Source: Reuters)
His tactic: He keeps his distance from Trump, but at the same time does not want to provoke the anger of his supporters. He informed the House of Representatives that he did not support the premature removal of the elected President Donald Trump by means of a constitutional article. “I do not believe that such an approach is in the best interests of our nation and in accordance with our constitution,” said Pence on Tuesday in a letter to the chairwoman of the Congress Chamber, Nancy Pelosi. He also does not want to apply the 25th amendment to the constitution. This article enables the deposition of the head of state by the vice-president and the majority of the cabinet if they consider him incapable of office.
Resignation of ministers
But although some senators and Mike Pence are against the impeachment: Nobody openly takes the side of Donald Trump or protects him. The elected president stands alone, but denies all allegations. “What I said was completely appropriate,” said Trump, countering the accusation that he had incited the crowd with his speech shortly before the storming of the Capitol.
With his campaign against the election result, Trump has frightened a growing number of allies. Even former close confidants turned away from him, some ministers resigned after the Washington riots: Justice Secretary William Barr, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Minister of Transportation Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife. The latter justified the move with the riot at the Capitol, for which DeVos made Trump’s rhetoric partly responsible.
National Guard soldiers at the U.S. Capitol: Preparations for Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20 have begun. (Source: Reuters)
At the same time, many Republicans seem to be worried about the anger of Trump supporters if they stand too loudly against the US president. But Trump only gets advocacy from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who in recent days has repeatedly emphasized the mutual successes in the government and criticized Trump’s blocking on social networks. Pompeo is also said to have further political ambitions. He could strategically try to win Trump’s supporters for himself.
Not even one’s own family is united behind Trump
Ultimately, the Republicans are under immense pressure after the horror of the Capitol Storm. Many try to position themselves as vaguely as possible, otherwise they would lose political capital in a split party. Even if Trump is fighting alone politically, his supporters are a means of pressure that can be decisive for future elections,
That’s why many Republicans duck back in the hope that the storm will soon be over and Donald Trump resigned. This also applies to his family. Melania and Ivanka Trump did not try to defend their husband or father in public. At least Ivanka is supposed to focus political offices in the future, which is why she is currently focusing on damage limitation.
But if not even his own family is behind the elected US president, it shows one thing above all: Donald Trump maneuvered himself into a political dead end with his lies and false accusations of fraud and with his rhetoric before the Capitol storm. There he stands now, a lone arsonist.