PRO written by Melissa Liu:
No one can deny the effects that President Trump has had on America’s political climate—both the good and the bad. On one hand, as my APUSH teacher puts it, Trump has awakened the nation from a political coma: people on both sides of the aisle have begun exercising their democratic rights like never before, whether it be through Tweeting, reposting, or protesting. I am sure I am not alone in seeing a definitive increase in my participation in politics from 2016 until now and this I owe to Trump. On the other hand, this has also caused unprecedented (at least for how long I’ve been alive) levels of polarization as Trump’s fiery rhetoric ignites hatred and anger within his constituents.
But the question of Trump’s impeachment is not a partisan question of whether he has affected America in a positive or negative way. It is not a question of whether his impulsive Tweets should have ever seen the light of day, or whether his derogatory statements from his younger years should define him, or even whether his immigration policies are racist or just strict. In fact, impeachment should not be a partisan issue at all, although it has turned into one. Impeachment, at its core definition, is the action of calling into question the integrity of something. As it relates to the President of the United States, it is a charge of misconduct. So the question of whether President Trump should be impeached quite literally is the question, “has Trump committed misconduct?”
And I would argue that yes, he has.
The event that first jumpstarted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry was a whistleblower complaint about Trump’s phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky. From this alone, Trump’s misconduct and abuse of his power as a world leader is evident. In the phone call, Trump urged Zelensky to investigate a corruption scandal regarding Joe Biden, a democratic candidate for the upcoming 2020 election.
This may not seem like a big deal; at first glance, it may just seem like a typical foreign alliance in which both parties use each other for their own personal gain. In fact, Trump has had his fair share of such alliances—just look at Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The inherent problem in this specific case, however, is his use of this foreign alliance in order to further his own political agenda: getting re-elected in 2020. Because Biden is the current frontrunner for the democratic party, it is likely that he will win the Democratic nomination and as a result go head-to-head against Trump for the presidency once November rolls around. In other words, Trump is employing help from a foreign leader in order to win an election: an explicitly illegal act and an impeachable offense.
This is not the first time that Trump has been caught in the act of using foreign countries for his own benefit. After his win in the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s campaign was accused of being tied to Russia. Although it is still unclear whether he truly used Russian influence to campaign and win the election, this is just more evidence of Trump’s clear mishandling of his own power.
The evidence is clear: Trump should be impeached. He should be impeached because presidents of the United States should not be able to get away with utterly undermining America’s democracy. He should be impeached for acting not in the interests of his people but of himself. And he should be impeached because a precedent must be set from here on out: that Congress can and will call out crime, corruption, and the abuse of power.
CON written by Janice Lee:
We all know President Trump is brash. We know he cannot hold his tongue. We have seen the SNL Cold Opens, nodded our heads along to The New York Times articles, and groaned every single time he has been caught in yet another foreign entanglement. Now, we find ourselves faced with the Ukraine affair, and we cannot simply turn our eyes away anymore. And out pops the big question: is it time to impeach Trump?
Due to all the unethical acts I have seen President Trump commit over the course of his presidency, I would agree that his demeanor should be frowned upon. The sexual misconduct allegations, the “fake news” coinage, Russian intervention in U.S. elections, North Korean tweets– I mean, we’ve got a laundry list of scandals we’ve never seen the likes of from an American president! However, even as I disapprove of Trump’s temperament and executive decisions, impeachment is simply not an effective or practical solution.
At this point, we are rolling into an election year. Impeachment trials, investigations, and interviews are a barrage of Congressional work that might prove to be futile or, possibly even worse, end up impeaching him while we’re relatively close to election day. By that point, it would be more time-conserving to vote him out in favor of a president that we feel better represents us as U.S. citizens.
The concept of Trump’s impeachment has not been exclusive to 2019. From the moment he was elected president, organized protests in front of Trump Towers and in Washington D.C. voiced their disapproval. The crux of the current impeachment dilemma lies in the timing of Trump’s impeachment. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had an entire presidential term of four years to initiate impeachment proceedings, but she held off until recently. Besides the aforementioned problem regarding the inefficiency of impeaching him this year, we can see why Pelosi had a difficult time grappling with the process of investigating Trump. It would cause further House divisions, waste precious Congressional time that could be allocated to different resources, and even diminish morale if impeachment fails (by bolstering the attitude that his rash behavior is condoned by the people).
To all the Democratic Party activists that are adamant that Trump be impeached for justice, I respect the perseverance toward achieving greater social improvement. However, it is crucial to consider the repercussions of a failed impeachment. It would chiefly empower extremist Trump supporters to execute further offensive and dangerous acts as seen in the past example of the Unite The Right rally, essentially working against the social activists’ objective to reduce the prominent hate culture around us. The mere possibility of a failed impeachment actually leaves some room before the election day for a silent population of Trump supporters to feel righteous in voting for him once again. Impeaching Trump at this point in time would not benefit any person, organization, or party.
Anyone with a pair of eyes can see Trump’s problematic nature. But impeachment is not as easy as snapping fingers or yelling at the politicians on our TV screens. It’s complicated and messy. I question whether impeaching Trump is worth it when it involves instilling chaos and uneasiness within the greater American society, all while we are encroaching upon the 2020 elections.