President Trump’s impeachment has been the headline of the 24-hour news cycle for the past 3 months and today it came to a close. Starting in September with an inquiry into his actions in regard to his relationship with the Ukrainian President.On December 18, 2019 the House of Representatives voted on articles of impeachment for President Trump, unsurprisingly passing them. The Democrats hold a majority in the House, so it was unlikely that Trump was not going to be impeached. When the articles were passed in the house, there was a media frenzy following the President’s and the Senate’s reactions. Who really stole the spot light however, was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. After the vote, she refused to hand the articles over to the Senate to begin the trial.
In the beginning of January, Pelosi spoke to TIME Magazine about why she was holding the articles in a limbo period for an unknown amount of time explaining that it was because she wanted to know how the trial was going to be conducted. An unprecedented move on her part that left many questioning her motives for calling the impeachment vote.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 the senate held a historic, but somewhat predictable, vote on impeaching sitting President Donald Trump. Many senators came out with their positions on how they would vote before, but many more are kept their hand close. The House rushed the trial that it held where they passed impeachment articles against Trump and the Senate has made it known that they will not stand for frivolous accusations. Going into this trial it was known that the House has a democratic majority and would be able to pass the articles and that the Senate was held by the republicans and it would take a lot to convince them to vote against party lines and a sitting president.
Although it was heavily assumed that the president would be acquitted in that vote, what is still intriguing is who voted on and who voted against party lines. Some democrats were expecting at least one of the senators to vote to acquit. For those senators who were visibly on the line, it was an influential vote for their future careers or re-election. Republicans were confident that they would be voting as a party, but ultimately there was one Republican who voted to convict, Mitt Romney.
Romney is a formal Presidential Candidate, running as the republican nominee against Obama in 2008 and 2012. Although he was unsuccessful in his presidential campaign, he ran for the Utah Senate seat and won. In the trial today he spoke of the constitution and what he felt was his and his fellow senators’ duty, which is to check the president’s actions and powers. The only senator who didn’t vote on party lines can be explained a number of ways.
The first, he has already run for president twice and lost, so it is unlikely that he has high prospects of running on the republican ticket again. Beyond running, he lost to Obama in his initial election and re-election, 2008 and 2012, respectively. The energy and funding that he put into those campaigns was draining, and the Republicans will back their incumbent president over a two-time losing candidate.
Second, Romney just took office in 2019, so he isn’t up for reelection for another 6 years, and if Trump were to be re-elected, he would no longer be in office when that future election takes place. This means that Romney wasn’t seeking party approval in this vote. Rather, he was true to his beliefs, interpretations and constituents.
Finally, although Romney is not new to politics, this is his first term as senator. He has been Governor and has ran for the Massachusetts Senate seat in the past but been unsuccessful. Senators who are newer to the senate tend to make bolder political moves, voting outside the norm would not be unprecedented.
After just under six months, the trial has come to a close with a somewhat expected outcome, President Trump is acquitted on all charges and will be running for re-election in 2020. Watching the democratic primaries to see his opponent will be important to republicans and democrats alike. With over 20 names currently in the running for the Democratic nomination, there will be change and clarification in the coming months for an opponent for Trump.