For the first time in U.S. history, a sitting U.S. president has been impeached—twice.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 232-197 to impeach President Donald J. Trump, a week after a group of supporters who was inspired by his rhetoric, violently stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to halt the certification of Electoral College votes that ultimately declared Joseph R. Biden as the next president of the United States.
Ten Republicans joined the 232 Democrats in voting for impeachment.
Now, the article of impeachment will move to the U.S. Senate for a trial where it is unlikely to end in a conviction, said Dr. Ravi K. Perry, professor and chair of the political science department at Howard University.
“Just imagine if Al Qaeda or the Taliban took control of our U.S. Capitol building for that amount of time and imagine only 10 members from the other party that controls Congress saying, ‘We think that this is something that is abhorrent.’ That is essentially what happened here and that’s unfortunate,” said Perry.
Watching the proceedings from the West Coast, Dr. Gary Orfield, a distinguished research professor of education, law, political science and urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles said that he was surprised by the number of House Republicans who abandoned party allegiances and voted for the measure.
“[Trump’s] party is no longer committed to defending every fit of outrage, and I think that’s healthy,” said Orfield. “It’s now up to the Republicans in the Senate to decide whether they want to cleanse their party of this kind of very dangerous politics with people who are not committed to democracy and who are committed to hatred.”
Orfield said that many of the protestors who rioted at the Capitol last week were members of White supremacist groups.
“In terms of civil rights, in terms of racial justice, people who work on civil rights have known about these groups and the violence of it for a long time,” he said, noting the death threats that have been directed at progressive members of Congress.
“There have been death threats floating around. I got my first one when I was in my 20s when I was first writing about civil rights issues,” he said, recalling a letter that he received from the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “These people have been around forever in this country. They were celebrated and reinforced by this president and this was the sorry result. They’ve been allowed to fester. It’s like a cancer. We have to have surgery.”
Staff Writers Sara Weissman and Arrman Kyaw contributed to this article.