On Jan. 6, President Donald Trump incited a crowd of his supporters to seize the nation’s Capitol, aiming to disrupt the counting of Electoral College votes that certified the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States. The mob incited a violent attack, causing the first breach of the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812. Months later, GDS community members are still grappling with the repercussions of the actions committed.
“The American people are watching,” sophomore Ava Blum said. “History is watching.”
Having witnessed two out of the four impeachments in American history in the past few years, the GDS community reflected in interviews with the Bit to share a few perspectives on the repercussions of and reasons for holding leaders accountable for their actions.
During the impeachment process, some GDS community members were concerned with the division that would result from removing Trump from office.
“I think the impeachment is actually bad for the country,” sophomore Luca Pedroni said during the Senate’s trial. “I feel like [removal] would destabilize the government and undermines the authority of our president, while also polarizing the issue and pitting Democrats and Republicans against each other in a pseudo–Civil War type format.”
Some GDS community members questioned the effectiveness of the impeachment and didn’t see its importance. The lack of direct consequences of Trump’s first impeachment, which occurred in 2019, led community members to believe that the second impeachment wouldn’t be effective in holding Trump accountable for his actions either.
“Although the [first] impeachment trial created more awareness for Trump’s wrongdoings, I believe that Trump’s second impeachment will be harmful,” junior Sahari Abney said. “He was already acquitted and this still puts the power in his hands.”
Even though Trump was once again acquitted, albeit by a lesser margin than the first time, some GDS community members believed the impeachment stood as a demonstration to future people in power that you cannot commit unlawful acts and get away with them.
“I don’t think Trump has had any change in heart,” Sophomore Bryan Chapman said. But at least it shows our future presidents that something will happen to them if they do something to the same degree and I think that’s important for the future of this country.”
“I think it [impeachment] had to happen,” history teacher Topher Dunne said, agreeing with Chapman. “If you let stuff slide, it sets a bad precedent going forward.”