A bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a single charge of incitement of insurrection stemming from the deadly violence by a mob of his supporters at the U.S. Capitol last week.
The historic vote meant that it was the second time in as many years that Trump has been impeached by the House. It was also the first time in U.S. history that a sitting president has ever been impeached twice. It was also the most bipartisan impeachment vote ever, as 10 Republicans voted against the leader of their own party.
The vote passed with 231 Representatives voting in favor of the impeachment and 197 voting against it, with five people not registering a vote at all.
While the House managed to bring the impeachment vote in seemingly record time, don’t expect the Senate to move as swiftly for Trump’s impeachment trial. The House first has to deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate.
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump should be impeached, he never said he would vote to convict him and announced Wednesday that the Senate would take up the impeachment trial after Joe Biden is inaugurated on Tuesday.
That means Trump will not be in office when his impeachment trial takes place.
Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., called for a prompt Senate trial.
“We call on the Senate to immediately consider the article of impeachment against the president, and vote to convict and remove him from office immediately. Mr. Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he represents a grave threat to the integrity of our democracy and to the nation as a whole,” Ifill said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “Every moment that he continues to remain in office puts this country and our democracy in increased danger. The Senate must uphold its obligation to protect and defend our democratic values, and strip Mr. Trump of the presidency before he causes any further damage to our institutions, our lives, and our welfare.”
Regardless, there is no guarantee the Senate will vote to convict Trump. It would require two-thirds of the Senate to vote in favor of a conviction in order to secure a guilty verdict.
However, one key difference this time around is that the Senate will be led by Democrats, thanks to the historic election of Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in their Georgia runoff elections last week. In the event of a tie in the 100-person Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris will have the power to cast the deciding vote. It’s unclear how realistic that prospect will be when the Senate decides to hold Trump’s second impeachment trial.
If Tim Scott was any indication, it seemed doubtful that Trump would be convicted in the Senate impeachment trial. The South Carolina Senator — the only Black Republican Senator — has already made his mind up and proudly announced he wouldn’t be voting for a conviction.
“President Trump has eight days left in his term and has promised a smooth and peaceful transition of power. The Democrat-led impeachment talks happening in the House right now fly in direct opposition to what President-elect Joe Biden has been calling for all year,” Scott tweeted Tuesday night.
“An impeachment vote will only lead to more hate and a deeply fractured nation. I oppose impeaching President Trump,” Scott added in a subsequent tweet.