Donald Trump will use the Democrats’ failed impeachment bid to fuel his re-election campaign, according to a leading White House-watcher.
The American president was cleared of two impeachment charges this week, ending a five-month-long campaign by the main opposition party to have him thrown out of office on abuse of power and obstruction of justice charges.
Heading into an already shambolic election campaign where the Democrats preferred candidate, Joe Biden, is trailing behind three others, Elliott Brennan of the United States Studies Centre (USSC) in Sydney said the US president would use his victory to shore up support and further humiliate his opponents.
“I think it will feature quite prominently in those unscripted remarks throughout his re-election campaign,” Mr Brennan said. “He is definitely going to talk about it quite often.”
Mr Brennan said the two “fundamental versions of Donald Trump” are the ‘teleprompter Trump’ and the ‘campaign Trump’.
“I don’t think when we see him in those big stadiums addressing the die-hard fans he’ll be able to resist celebrating the acquittal,” he added.
“I think it will feature quite prominently in those unscripted remarks throughout his re-election campaign.
“He wants to talk about it quite often and it’s often only under the presence of the teleprompter that it keeps him in the bumper lanes.”
The impeachment vote, which was always going to fail under a Republican-dominated Senate, was followed by a typically bizarre tweet from President Trump, featuring a fake TIME magazine cover which shows him running for office…indefinitely (Note: Contrary to the constitution which allows Presidents to only run for two terms).
Hours after the above tweet, Trump gave a speech, which he labelled a “celebration”. And, while brandishing a copy of The Washington Post headlined ‘Trump acquitted’, he instructed First Lady Melania Trump to take it home and frame it.
“It’s the only good headline I’ve ever had,” he added.
“We went through hell. We did nothing wrong. I’ve done things wrong in my life. Not purposely.
“We were treated unfairly. We first went through Russia, Russia, Russia…it was all bullshit,” Trump said, referring to the 448-page Mueller Report submitted on March 2, 2019, which failed to establish any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia but which Congress had the option of launching impeachment proceedings on, but chose not to.
The first article of impeachment had accused Trump of abuse of power in a telephone conversation, in which Trump asked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s board membership of a Ukrainian energy firm, or allegedly have military aid denied. The second article of impeachment was for obstructing Congress. Both articles failed to gain full support in the Senate, with 52-48 and 53-47 votes, respectively – falling short of the 67 votes required to make a “super-majority”.
As anticipated, all Democrats voted against Trump, however, Republican Senator Mitt Romney, made history becoming the first to vote for the removal of a sitting president from the same party.
Brennan said: “[Romney] has been quite a vocal critic of President Trump.
“He didn’t really indicate until late in the game that he was going to vote that way. But once he did, it certainly seemed to take the White House by surprise.”
Sen. Romney cited his faith as the main reason for his vote. While he knew his vote alone wouldn’t hold enough impact to remove a sitting president, he said he based his decisions on principle and duty to his office.
“With my vote I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty. What the President did was wrong – grievously wrong,” the Utah Senator said during his speech.
Trump’s campaign chief Brad Parscale promptly attacked the senator on Twitter, saying: “Mitt Romney is an irrelevant relic.”
“Let’s call it what it is. You’re sour about Trump’s success and you want to keep your elitist dinner invites,” he added.
While Democrats, especially Senate chair, Nancy Pelosi (who tore up Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Thursday), believe they have morally done the correct thing in attempting to impeach the President; former Obama administrator, Tim Wu, claims: “I think today is the single most depressing day to be a Democrat since Nov 8, 2016 (the day of Trump’s election).”
Trump, the third US president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives (Richard Nixon was investigated for impeachment but resigned before officially being charged), will now plant his focus on the 2020 presidential election in November – of which his opponent is yet to be decided.
Buckle up for a very interesting nine months, and what’s shaping up to be an even more interesting five years.