As expected, the impeachment trial of Donald Trump ended on Wednesday with a near-party line vote to acquit him on both articles — abuse of power, and obstruction of Congress. The impeachment stemmed from Trump’s illegal refusal to hand over congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine unless that country’s government announced a bogus investigation into Trump’s potential 2020 election opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
In fact, several Republican senators publicly stated that Trump’s actions in his pressure campaign against Ukraine were wrong, but voted to acquit him in the impeachment trial anyway, as The Hill reported.
Only one Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, both condemned Trump’s actions and backed up his condemnation with a vote to convict.
As a result, wrote Salon political columnist Chauncey DeVega on Wednesay, the Republicans “have chosen to anoint Donald Trump as a de facto king or emperor.”
DeVega also labeled the Republicans voting to acquit Trump “members of a corrupt political cult,” warning that now that the senate has failed to hold him accountable for his actions in the Ukraine affair, Trump will quickly “push for full power.”
Citing a recent Washington Post op-ed by former FBI Director James Comey — who was fired by Trump on May 9, 2017 — in which Comey says that “the American center — that great lump of us clustered around the middle — always holds” — DeVega cautioned his readers not to pay attention to “B.S. words of reassurance.”
Comey predicted in his op-ed that the acquittal of Trump would backfire on the Republican Party, causing the GOP to fall out of power and stay in “exile” for “a very long time.” But DeVega did not share Comey’s optimism.
“No, the center will not hold,” DeVega wrote, adding that Comey had chosen to be a “hope-peddler” rather than a “truth-teller.”
Instead, DeVega wrote, American Democracy is “sick” and even “dying” — and the Republicans, the columnist wrote, “are trying to kill it.”
DeVega has not been alone in warning that Trump has been elevated to the level of a “king.” Earlier this week, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham said in an interview that as soon as the Senate voted on Friday against allowing witnesses or evidence in the impeachment trial, Trump became “functionally a monarch,” and “the most politically powerful president in American history.”
The Salon columnist also called Trump’s presidency, after his “virtual coronation” by Republicans, the “greatest threat to American democracy” since the south seceded from the United States in order to preserve their practice of human slavery — resulting in the four-year American Civil War which led to more than 600,000 deaths.