Trump’s impeachment and the probabilities
PRESIDENT Donald Trump of the United States of America is no doubt in the midst of the storm having been impeached by the House of Representatives. Trump was accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress which tantamount to gross misconduct.
However, the Senate has yet to make its verdict. Making the matter worse, the latest opinion poll reportedly conducted in the US revealed that a majority favoured Trump’s impeachment.
Peradventure the Senate, the upper chamber of the US Congress pursuant to Article 1, Section 3 (6) and (7) of the US Constitution, affirms the verdict, Trump’s political career is ruined. And if a vote for his removal eventually scales through, Trump will pack his luggage to join the league of fired presidents in the world. This is no good time for the embattled Trump at all. The ‘impeachment’ tag on his neck already is not a positive scorecard let alone removal from office.
In the US history, Andrew Johnson on February 24, 1868 was impeached by the House of Representatives for violating the Tenure of Office Act but not removed from office by the Senate. Bill Clinton was similarly impeached by the lower Congress on December 19, 1998 over perjury and obstruction of justice but pardoned by the Senate. Clinton’s antecedents and comportment compellingly appeased the Senate’s ‘red card’.
Instructively, Clinton’s maturity and charisma distinctively worked in his favour after his indictment; possibly, his understanding that sovereignty belongs to the people. In the heat of his saga, Clinton evoked emotions and actually wept before the Congress unlike Trump’s bossy displays and counter-attacks. In a democracy, the legislature and judiciary call the shots.
Other impeachment attempts in the US include John Tyler on January 10, 1843 who encountered an impeachment motion but a resolution failed to scale through. James Buchanan on June 16, 1860 faced his own heat, but the committee found nothing substantial to warrant his impeachment.
However, it is worthy of note that impeachment under the US legal system is merely a formal indictment and not absolute removal from office as it applies in other countries including Nigeria where impeachment connotes dismissal from office.
Furthermore, Richard Nixon in his own case on August 9, 1974 resigned before a formal vote, whilst George W. Bush on June 11, 2008 also survived as though a resolution was referred to a committee but no further action taken. These records significantly attest that democracy is at work in the US and above all, sovereignty indeed belongs to the people.
Back to the Trump saga, apart from party influence, his chances are quite slim. His move to reverse same-sex marriage which his predecessor, Barack Obama, signed into law amidst controversy believably boosted his legitimacy after his controversial win against Democrat’s candidate, Hilary Clinton, a former Secretary of State. In fact, the attempts to achieve it through an executive bill were perceived as a blunder which made political analysts reduce it to mere propaganda.
Arguably, Trump’s leadership style may be said to be shambolic vis-à-vis the position of the US in the world space. Most of his speeches lack diplomacy, and unedifying which leave much to be desired from an occupant of the White House. For instance, Trump had some time ago contemptuously docketed the African continent as “shitholes”.
In another occasion, he reportedly referred to his Nigerian counterpart as ‘lifeless’ on account of health challenges at that time. And many others. His delight in segregation is apparent and monumental. Unlike him, Clinton during his historic visit to Nigeria in 2000 passionately demanded to have a taste of rural life with the downtrodden class which led to his presence at Ushafa Village on August 27, 2000 where he remarkably, and cheerfully shook the hands of hundreds of poor villagers who were desperate to touch him. That’s exemplary leadership.
In fact, the manner Trump speaks may make one to ponder if the White House truly has media aides attached to the President. Arguably, Trump lacks experience for administrative governance. I must add that the manner he disparages or belittles non-americans is irksome. Without doubt, America is advanced than many countries but decorum is requisite.
Another spiteful feature of Trump’s leadership style is doublestandard or divide-and-rule. His administration had in recent times spared a bigwig with presidential ambition allegedly linked to the Halliburton case involving then Louisiana Representative, William J. Jefferson. Not long ago, it indicted another citizen of the same country, Allen Onyema, chairman of Air Peace, over similar crimes and called for his extradition for prosecution. This is quite unlike the US where equality before the law has long been entrenched.
Trump in particular has a lot of work to do in this regard, and must necessarily learn from his errors as well as predecessors. Leadership positions may be procured or fortuitously acquired but attributes of leadership may not, as they come by intensive training.
America must expeditiously reposition its governance for prominence in the global sphere as developing countries look up to it for positive and progressive direction. By its long practice of democracy, roughly three centuries, certain standards are necessarily indispensable.