On Tuesday, Senators were sworn in as jurors for the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the disgraced former president. Trump’s impeachment was brought on by the House of Representatives because of his role in inciting a violent mob that attempted to mount an insurrection within the Capitol on January 6.
The sudden burst of violence was the capstone to four years of unchecked rhetoric demonizing any and all of Trump’s political opponents.
Senator Patrick Leahy, the president pro tempore of the Senate, will preside over the impeachment proceedings. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has chosen to not preside over the impeachment as he normally would, having already presided over the first impeachment in 2019.
Notably, Donald Trump is the only president to have been impeached twice.
The Democratically-controlled Senate struck down a motion from Rand Paul seeking to brand the impeachment as unconstitutional, since Donald Trump’s term ended on January 20.
While the chamber defeated the motion, only five Republican Senators sided with Democrats. This is an early indicator for pundits that it is unlikely the 17 Republicans needed to convict Trump will be swayed.
Should the Senate vote to convict, Trump would typically be removed from office. Currently, of course, that is a moot point. The more pressing aspect of a conviction for the future of Trump’s political career, however, would be that the Senate could move to bar him from holding future office.
As it stands, it’s quite possible that Trump could attempt to run for president again in 2024, potentially dividing Republicans over whether to support a one-term president who left office in disgrace.
Trump has signaled to his supporters that he plans to run for president again in 2024, a move that would, under normal circumstances, be considered politically unwise.
After all, once a presidential candidate has been defeated, their name tends to carry the stigma of “candidate that loses elections” for the remainder of their career. This goes double for an incumbent who loses a reelection bid.
In Trump’s case, however, his blatant lies regarding election fraud could play some role in another presidential bid. Many of Trump’s supporters believe his lies about the election, as Trump has falsely claimed that it was “stolen” from him by voter fraud he has provided no evidence of.
As such, his narrative could be constructed around “righting the wrongs” of the 2020 election. Whether such a strategy would actually win an election, however, remains to be seen.