A Sunday editorial, “Focus on the future, let go of the past,” called for President Biden to stop the impeachment of former President Trump. This demands a response.
The editorial appeared on the front page where readers are accustomed to finding objectively reported news. This placement made clear that the Press objects strongly to the impeachment. A reader might wonder why the Press did not object in equally strong terms to former President Trump’s constant lies, his separation of children from their parents at the Mexican border, his use of foreign assistance to leverage a political favor from Ukraine, or any number of other shocking moves that undermined confidence in democracy.
In addition, the editorial contained a number of illogical points that need clarification.
The editorial complained that President Biden immediately reversed some of former President Trump’s executive orders. This is a standard first move made by all incoming presidents, but the editorial described it as a “kick in the groin” to Trump supporters. A kick in the groin is an illegal unfair or dishonorable strike made purposefully to hurt a sensitive target in contact sports. Was it in any way illegal or dishonorable for President Biden to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord? Was it illegal for President Biden to stop work on the border wall that former President Trump paid for with money he diverted questionably from the defense budget? Was President Biden’s executive action lifting race-based travel restrictions on Muslim countries unfair? President Biden’s initial orders did not hurt Americans in any way. Calling them a kick in the groin to conservatives was both wrong and inflammatory.
The editorial stated that one way to “bring many people at least a little closer toward cooperation” is to “stop the impeachment train.” Unfortunately, no evidence supports the belief that the Republicans would be any more cooperative if impeachment were to be stopped. Senator McConnell unilaterally imposed gridlock on the Senate for more than a decade before presidential impeachment became a reality. Moreover, dropping impeachment sends the message to future presidential candidates, like Senators Cruz and Hawley who expressed solidarity with the Capitol Hill rioters, that such behavior is OK.
The editorial claimed that impeachment will be “counterproductive to the nation’s well-being and a distraction that the now all-powerful Democrats can ill afford.” Devoting precious time to impeachment proceedings may indeed be risky for the Democrats if it prevents Congress from advancing President Biden’s agenda. But suppose the Democrats let Trump “off the hook,” as the editorial suggested. What would prevent future presidents from inciting more insurrectionist riots? To quote Senator Romney: “If inciting insurrection isn’t impeachable, what is?” And if conviction lessens the likelihood of future presidents inciting riots, it may actually be conducive to the long-term well-being of our nation. Pursuing impeachment is a tragic but patriotic necessity that requires backbone and integrity.
The editorial warns pessimistically that President Biden’s efforts to stop Covid-19 will not “bridge the gap with conservatives still upset over an election loss that many will never acknowledge is legitimate.” Conservatives may be upset, but President Biden is doing far more to protect them from COVID-19 than President Trump ever did. An optimist would urge conservatives to stop grousing over the big lie that the election was stolen, and instead keep an open mind about President Biden’s efforts to bridge the gap that divides our nation.
By Evan Koch
Kootenai County Central Committee Chair