Renewed impeachment: Trump’s future as a martyr has begun

The historic second impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump are generating a lot of satisfaction in the United States. But the move is not politically wise.

A comment by Sebastian Hesse, ARD Studio Washington

“The first president in the history of the United States to be impeached twice” – this entry will now be in the history books forever. To have given Donald Trump this humiliation and this flaw as well as parting satisfies many in the USA. Not only its numerous critics and opponents, but also an unimaginable number of political companions until recently.

This President has never missed an opportunity to prepare the ground for the satisfaction and glee that the second impeachment sparked. I also found myself indulging the incorrigible egomaniac with all my heart. And yet: I do not consider the second impeachment attempt to be politically wise.

A damning judgment of history anyway

Without the sentence that was added yesterday, the history books would have noted: A highly controversial president who was not re-elected. Under whose presidency the Republicans lost not only the White House, but also the Senate and the House of Representatives. A failed political experiment, or, worst of all for someone like Trump, a loser. Even without the second impeachment, that would have been a devastating judgment of history.

If you had left it at that, the post-Trump era could have begun with a gesture that would have been the maximum contrast to the culture this spiteful man has created. Sign of a magnitude that Trump is not capable of. A rejection of his vindictiveness, irritability and resentment. Trump, whose days are numbered, should have simply been let go without causing a stir.

Trump’s future as a martyr has begun

Because one thing is certain: the recent impeachment did nothing to bring the bitterly divided nation back together. Rather, it feeds the fatal Trump legend that the old elites want to destroy him because he had declared war on them at the head of a movement. Those who fell for this nonsense, and there are millions in the USA, feel that the impeachment process only confirms them. Trump’s presidency ends, his future as a martyr began yesterday at the latest.

In addition, yesterday’s slap in the face for Trump is likely to have purely symbolic value. The Senate will only decide on impeachment after Trump’s departure. Not only is it controversial whether this is even legally possible with a previous president. Above all, this time again, no two-thirds majority for the actual impeachment should come about. And so it will hardly succeed what many had hoped for from the recent impeachment: To put the stop to Trump being able to run again.

His successor must now prevent this in a different way: by uniting, healing and reconciling. A Herculean task for Joe Biden, which the recent impeachment has certainly not gotten any easier.

Editorial note

Comments generally reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editorial team.

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