In a recent edition, both Michael Gerson and George Will, conservative Republicans, expressed misgivings about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s conduct in office. It’s not because they wish to protect a man who — they readily agree — dishonors the office he holds. But the messy congressional process may well energize Trump’s “base.” That’s the 38% of the population that doesn’t care what the man says or does, including murdering someone on Fifth Avenue, so long as he provides big tax breaks to corporations, protects the Second Amendment, closes down our borders, stands up for white privilege and keeps blasting “the Dems.”
Both columnists have, for some time, deplored the damage Trump has done to American institutions and to the Republican Party. If we may think of fiscal responsibility, reverence for constitutional law and ethical integrity as three traditional tests of Republican character, the current president fails them all. Our soaring national debt, the president’s documented attempt to collude politically with a foreign government, and his refusal to take any responsibility, ever, for his corrupt behavior, all reveal his shamelessness.
Will Trump be impeached? Probably not, because many Republicans still fear Trump’s wrath more than the indignation of the American public. But that may change. This president may yet be held accountable for his most appalling failures: gutting the Environmental Protection Agency and repudiating the Paris Climate Accord just as unmistakable evidence of extreme global warming is melting glaciers in Alaska, Greenland, the Arctic and the French Alps; his delusional bromance with Kim Jong Un, which has let that dictator expand his nuclear arsenal while U.S. military preparedness in South Korea has declined; his inhumane treatment of refugees at our southern border; his refusal to confront our peculiar national contagion — mass shootings with automatic weapons; and his pathetic deference to Vladimir Putin, who assured him Russia had not interfered in our election, when the entire U.S. intelligence community had reached the opposite conclusion. Of course, Russia wanted Trump, who was still hoping to build a high-rise in Moscow. They got their man by tipping a close election.
Trump still refuses to acknowledge that meddling, thus failing as a leader to protect against more cyber attacks in 2020. He had already obstructed justice by firing the head of the FBI, who was looking into that Russian interference. Trump has indeed promoted so many paranoid narratives about a “deep state” that these delusions circulate as right-wing talking points. He has undermined public respect for the FBI, the CIA and the Department of Justice. He regards these independent institutions as political tools for his emerging dictatorship.
Should he be impeached? It’s your call, U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy. The integrity of this nation is at stake.