Editorial | Last straw for Trump makes waves

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Editorial | Last straw for Trump makes waves

From the beginning of his presidency, Donald Trump has remained at the center of scandal after scandal. Talk of impeachment has circulated within the Democratic Party and beyond since his inauguration.

Because of this, Trump and the American people seem to have become numb to these threats.

But now, after this last indiscretion — asking the Ukrainian president to aid in investigating Joe Biden, former Vice President and current presidential hopeful — Congress and the general population, may have finally had enough. Led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the United States House of Representatives launched a formal impeachment inquiry into the president last Tuesday. 

Many people look at this as a good thing. “Impeach Trump” and worse sentiments are expressed on the daily, without so much as thought as to what this would mean for the nation.

In an already dangerously divided country, the impeachment of a president and, God forbid, his removal might just be what tips us over the edge.

A U.S. president has never been removed from office and only two have ever been formally impeached. There is no historical precedent, no words of wisdom or noble actions from our predecessors to draw on. We have no real idea what the removal of a president would do to the nation, even in times of unity. 

From what we know of the history of other countries, there is no reason for us to expect a smooth transition. Removing the head of state, even by legal means, will leave the country reeling. Hopefully, the transition of power would be peaceful, but we have no real way of knowing. And in times of turbulence, uncertainty is the last thing anyone needs.

Removal would also set a dangerous precedent. In general, the U.S. has enjoyed relative political stability since its inception. We have traditions for the transfer of power that have left us in a bubble of security without too many hits to our faith in the system. 

If we were to remove a president from power before the end of his term, the four-year term tradition becomes tarnished. Can people ever again fully trust a system that has failed them?

To be clear, we are not taking a stance on whether or not President Trump should be impeached. We are not calling for an end to impeachment talks or even for an end to the talks of removal. If the majority of Congress believes Trump needs to be removed, so be it. 

We merely caution that this route is dangerous, unstable and uncharted. We should treat this topic and its execution with the gravity it deserves. Obviously, the Founders wrote this failsafe into the Constitution for a reason, and we may well have to use it at some point. 

But is this that point? Will Trump be the first president we remove from office? Is this the stand we want to take?

On the other hand, we could wait. Trump’s term is almost up. We could vote him out in the next election in a proven, stable way, without risking the waves of impeachment and subsequent removal.

Patience may just be our best option.