The meltdown on Capitol Hill has dealt a further blow to the image of the United States and plunged the waning Trump into unprecedented isolation and crisis. Democrats are now racing to impeach Mr Trump for the second time. US media revealed that the impeachment process began as early as November 11. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, has also spoken to the military to prevent Trump from doing something even crazier, such as launching a nuclear war, in his final days in office. Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have jumped on Trump over the past two days, blocking or restricting his accounts. This has left the so-called “Tweetocracy” with no voice at all, and it has also brought more scrutiny of America’s pretensions to free speech, especially among Trump’s conservative supporters. US media have also warned that extremists are inciting violence to counter Biden’s inauguration, threatening to “occupy government buildings and kill police”. “The White House is in meltdown, the military is tense, the Cabinet is in revolt, the Republican Party is in a civil war…” This is how the New York Times described the political atmosphere in the US on October 10. “America at a Dangerous Crossroad,” ran a headline on CNN that day.
Impeachment begins today at the earliest
According to the New York Times, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump as early as Monday, accusing him of “sedition”. A growing number of House Democrats are backing a second impeachment. Three members of the House of Representatives have drafted an article of impeachment that focuses on the violent vandalism of the Capitol building by Trump supporters on Saturday and Trump’s role in “sedition.” Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, but it would take the support of at least 17 Republican senators (more than two-thirds of the Senate) to convict Mr Trump in the Senate, the report said. Democratic leaders say privately that is not out of the question as things stand.
A growing number of Republicans have also indicated they might be willing to support impeachment, according to the Journal. Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said on Sunday that he believes Trump has done impeachable things and is no longer fit to serve as president. “I do think the president has committed an impeachable crime, but I don’t know how the Senate will react.”
But seven Republican House members sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden asking him to formally ask Pelosi not to impeach her, CNN10 reported Monday. In the letter, they said it was “unnecessary” to proceed with a second impeachment just days before Trump leaves office. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said that under Senate rules, the trial would not begin until January 19, the day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. According to The New York Times, some critics of Trump have argued that he should be put on trial in the Senate even if he steps down in order to prevent him from running for president again. Under the U.S. Constitution, it only takes a simple majority of 51 senators to bar a convicted person from future federal office, a type of secondary punishment. If the House passes the articles of impeachment, Trump will become the only president to be impeached twice in U.S. history.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 57 percent of Americans wanted Trump to step down immediately after the violent attack on Congress. Most Republicans, however, would prefer Mr Trump to finish his term, which ends on January 20. “I think he (Trump) should resign, but the chances of that happening are absolutely zero,” John Bolton, the former national security adviser to the US president who was fired by Trump, said in an interview.
Trump is increasingly isolated, CNN said. With less than two weeks to go before Mr. Biden’s inauguration, the country is on edge, uncertain whether Mr. Trump will incite a new round of violence. A source close to Vice President Pence said he would not rule out invoking the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and that he wanted to keep that option open in case President Trump became more “unstable.” Under the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, if the President is unable to discharge his powers and responsibilities, the Vice President can act as acting President.
Tech Firms’ Block Out ‘
Before the impeachment began, major US tech companies were among the first to attack Mr Trump. Twitter permanently banned Donald Trump’s account, citing “the risk of further inciting violence,” the company said in a statement on Monday. Facebook also announced that it has suspended Trump’s account indefinitely. Trump’s Twitter account, which has 88 million followers, has been an important platform for his voice and has seen him transform from businessman to 45th president of the United States. Mr Trump’s rise to the presidency had much to do with his knack for rallying supporters on Twitter. During his tenure, “Twitterstatecraft” became a prominent hashtag. You can imagine how much the loss of this position affected him. The Trump campaign’s Twitter account was subsequently disabled.
According to Business Insider, a senior administration official said Trump was “furious” after his Twitter account was banned and accused the company of working with Democrats “to silence me and the 75 million great patriots who elected me”. Trump also said, “We will not be silent in building our own platform in the near future!”
In the wake of Trump’s ban on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, some relatively small conservative platforms, most notably Parler, saw a surge in user numbers. Recently, Parler has become one of the fastest growing apps in the United States, attracting many Trump supporters. But over the weekend, Google and then Apple announced they were removing Parler from the App Store. According to media statistics, Trump has been “banned” on more than a dozen social media platforms to varying degrees.
Trump, who used to be able to call the wind and rain on the Internet just by picking up his mobile phone, suddenly became the one who was collectively “banned” by America’s tech giants. According to Politico, the series of bans is a startling demonstration of the power of tech companies to influence the fate of even the US president.
While liberal opinion applauded the “blocking” of Trump, conservatives were indignant. At the same time, the different dimensions of “freedom of speech” in the United States have also become a controversial topic. As the Boston Globe notes, tech companies used to defend free speech against regulation. Trump has been spreading misinformation and inciting violence on Facebook, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously tended to protect Trump’s interests in exchange for certain policy benefits, CNN said. Are we willing to rely on the judgment of a Silicon Valley billionaire to always make the right decision, Fox News asks? How can they be sure that any kind of political bias is not incorporated into their decisions? Russia’s Vesti television station said freedom of speech was not without limits and that the US had been quick to accuse other countries of restricting freedom of speech, which was a double standard.
The problems continued after Mr. Trump left
The shock from the riot in parliament has not yet subsided, and a report on CNN9 raised more concerns. Some extremists stepped up their agitation for violence before Biden’s Inauguration Day, even saying “we will storm government buildings, kill police officers, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents, and demand a recount.”
CNBC released a video of Trump and his family backstage at a rally on January 6, before the riot broke out at the Capitol. The family and friends of Donald Trump bantered and celebrated the birthday of his second son, Eric. Kimberly, the girlfriend of Donald Trump’s eldest son, danced for the camera. “Have courage and do what is right! Fight!” Kimberly says to the camera. The “Happy Family” video contrasts sharply with the tragedy that followed when five people were killed in a riot at Parliament, and many netizens were even more angry. Marriott Inc. will suspend donations to Republican senators who voted against certifying Joe Biden for president after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Bloomberg said Wednesday.
“It’s time for the world to see through American exceptionalism.” Al Jazeera commented that the Trump era may be an iconoclast extreme, but it is still fundamentally American, following a path that has long been the country’s path. The riots in Washington have brought shame to the world’s No. 1 democracy, the Guardian newspaper said Monday. The erosion of American democracy has multiple causes — inequality, racism, distrust of institutions, polarization, media and social media — that preexisted and will continue to exist after Trump.