Editor: Although a new president was sworn in on Jan. 20, Republicans and Democrats both seem unable to let go of Donald Trump. It’s time to move on, and politicians as well as everyday Americans have a role to play.
Republicans can begin by cutting Mr. Trump loose. Though there were a thousand points of political analysis that could have been made on Jan. 6, only one thing needed to be said: “This shouldn’t happen in the United States. What a nightmare.” Instead, the President failed to be a leader when America needed it most.
Mr. Trump didn’t call for violence, but his repeated conspiracies fueled a mob and his belated condemnation was sugar-coated in kind words for the worst among us. “We love you, you’re very special,” he said to rioters in a Twitter video message that afternoon. “But go home, and go home in peace.” There’s no criminal case against him, but he bears some moral responsibility for the storming of the Capitol.
74 million Americans voted for him, but he wouldn’t come close to those numbers if the election were held today. Despite the tweets, many Trump voters reluctantly pulled the lever either for more conservative policies and judges or out of fear of a left-wing takeover. But Mr. Trump’s insufficient response to the Capitol riots was too big of a pill for that reluctant group to swallow.
Mr. Trump is finished in American politics. A Jan. 15 Pew Research poll found that 68% of Americans don’t want him to “remain a major political figure in the future.” Republicans should stop parroting baseless claims about voter fraud sufficient to overturn the election and stop twisting themselves into pretzels to defend his recent comments. Vice President Pence showcased the “Trump record” without Mr. Trump during his VP debate performance, and it looked awfully good. Deregulation, conservative judges, and foreign policy victories. Continue the policy, drop Trump.
Similarly, Democrats need to move on too. Now that Mr. Trump is gone, impeachment only serves as another symbolic gesture, and the House of Representatives has fulfilled that purpose. Twice.
Senate Democrats hope to score political points by “removing” aformerpresident. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Jan. 13 that, “there will be an impeachment trial,” but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not start the trial until the Senate reconvenes Jan. 19.
A post-presidency impeachment trial would set a dangerous precedent for future legislatures. Would any new Congress impeach the former President if he were of the opposing party? We should hope not. What better way to stall the business of government than a show trial?
Most of all, the Biden administration rode in on the “unity” horse, but Congressional Democrats want to ride the Trump horse until it dies. This is the president’s chance to stand up to Democrats at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. An endless impeachment trial would prevent the unity the Biden administration must bring to a divided nation.
And it’s time for Americans outside the beltway to move on, too. Incivility and divisive rhetoric didn’t begin with Donald Trump, and won’t end with him either. But their excesses should be compartmentalized in four tense years.
Let’s talk to our neighbors. It’s not a good thing that some Americans can’t understand why their neighbor would vote for “the other guy” and may even regard them as evil if they did. Most people aren’t evil, aren’t stupid, and don’t hate you. They probably just disagree. We may find out as much if we start more amicable conversations.
Our political climate has become increasingly heated in recent years, and the pot boiled over on Jan. 6. It’s about time Americans said, “cool it.”
Thomas McKenna, Lovettsville