Donald Trump has become the first President in US history to be impeached twice. He exhorted his supporters to “march on the Capitol” and to “fight like hell”, and this has been deemed to have been “incitement of insurrection” against the US government and “lawless action at the Capitol”, according to the articles of impeachment.
We can disagree over whether he meant the fighting to be metaphorical, but it would perhaps have helped if he had explained what he wanted them to fight for, and, indeed, precisely how he wanted them to fight. Peaceful protest is a kind of fighting, and so is storming the Capitol; smashing its windows, swinging from its structures, looting lecterns and trashing offices. Presumably the exhortation to march on the Capitol was literal, in which case why were they marching? The election was ‘stolen’, he believes, and yet yet he has adduced no evidence in any court (or even to the court of public opinion) that millions of votes were cast fraudulently, or anything evidence at all which might possibly overturn Joe Biden’s victory.
He said his followers had the power to prevent Biden being installed as President, but he didn’t tell them what this power was or how it should be exercised responsibly. Many inferred from ‘march’ and ‘fight’ that armed insurrection might be necessary to save democracy. Save democracy from what? Millions of dead voters? Where was the evidence? Oh, figures have been bandied about on Twitter, but where is the documentary evidence which might be adduced in a court of law?
Five people died as a result of President Trump’s exhortation for his supporters to “fight like hell”, including a police officer. Another has subsequently committed suicide. Six deaths and $millions of damage to the temple of US democracy. Instead of calling for peace and order, he told them initially that he was “pleased” by the assault on the Capitol. He subsequently told them: “We love you. You’re very special”, while reiterating his claim that the election was “stolen”.
And so President Trump has been impeached for a second time.
It is easy to jump on the ‘fascist’ bandwagon, but it is unintelligent and undiscerning to insist that nothing good has come out of his presidency. In terms of foreign policy (especially Iran and China) it has been a success. In terms of world peace (especially North Korea and in the Middle East) it has been a success. In terms of religious liberty and educational freedom of expression it has been a success. In terms of the US economy and employment, his presidency was a success up to the advent of Covid-19 – the “China virus” which has blighted the world. In terms of holding the bloated UN and imbalanced NATO to account, it has been a success. In terms of ‘Pro-Life’ progress, it has been a success. And in terms of democratic participation, Donald Trump has invigorated a whole new generation with the power of the ballot.
And 74 million Americans supported him in his mission to ‘Drain the swamp’.
But 81 million preferred Joe Biden, who convincingly passed the necessary Electoral College threshold, and also won the House and the Senate (with the Speaker’s casting vote).
Yet the election was “stolen”, we were told, so Trump supporters were ordered to “march on the Capitol” and “fight like hell” to prevent Joe Biden taking office.
That wasn’t only unconstitutional; it was anti-democratic, unconservative, and an offence against the rule of law. It is also profoundly un-Christian, insofar as Jesus exhorted peace and reconciliation, not marching on the seat of democracy and fighting like hell. Where is the decency and decorum? Where is the respect for and dignity of office? Where is the consideration, compassion and consent which democratic leadership demands?
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness (Prov 15:1f).
You may think Donald Trump doesn’t deserve to be impeached, but he has now most certainly been (including by 10 Republicans). You may have faith that the Senate will acquit him, and it may. And with bans on Twitter and Facebook he has quite possibly been treated appallingly by Big Tech and the media. But what you cannot deny is that by his rudeness, belligerence, arrogance, and manifest lack of wisdom and grace, he has no-one to blame but himself.