I caused quite a kerfuffle on MetroNews Talkline Monday when I said that President Donald Trump should be impeached, removed from office and barred from holding office again.
Sixty-nine percent of West Virginians who voted in the 2020 election supported Trump, so I knew there would be hell to pay.
There was, and there will be more today with the postings on this commentary.
My unequivocal position on this issue is not a comfortable place. I typically try to find some safer middle ground that includes elements of each side. My first thought was to bypass impeachment because Trump will be out of office in a few days.
But problems, especially of this magnitude, do not just go away.
I could not get past the mob insurrection of the United States Capitol at the very moment the people’s representatives were meeting to certify the election results and take another critical step in the peaceful transfer of power.
Trump and his sycophants at the highest level of government bear responsibility. One branch of government encouraged an attack on a co-equal branch.
The president’s defenders parse his words to point out that he never specifically told supporters to storm the capitol. However, Trump clearly whipped up an already energized crowd.
He promoted the rally and pressured the Vice President of the United States to ignore his constitutional responsibility and change the outcome of the election. When Mike Pence refused, Trump attacked him.
Trump understandably contested the results in critical swing states. However, as evidence mounted that there had been no widespread fraud that changed the outcome, he continued to perpetuate false conspiracy theories.
Sadly, he has misled millions of his own supporters into believing he won by “a landslide.” That was a disservice to Trump voters and a dog whistle for the unhinged who scour fanatical message boards.
If Trump had, after exhausting his appeals, conceded, thanked his supporters and cooperated with the transition, I doubt the country would have been subjected to last Wednesday’s seditious acts.
But he did not, and therefore the insurrection rests at his feet and defines his legacy. All the while, he accepts no responsibility and threatens to punish his accusers.
If Congress will not punish a president for inciting a national movement and then a specific, physical mob to prevent his removal from office after an election, then what comes next will be far worse.