Accountability Isn’t Divisive
As House Democrats prepare to impeach President Donald Trump over his role in the attack on the Capitol last week, many Republican lawmakers are pushing back.
Calling the move “divisive,” conservative officials are claiming that what the country needs right now is unity, and to them, that can only be achieved by blatantly ignoring the fact that the president incited a violent insurrection against the government, which directly resulted in the deaths of five people.
“The attack at the Capitol was a despicable act of terrorism and a shocking assault on our democratic system. We must come together and put this anger and division behind us,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said immediately after the attack on Wednesday, suggesting that holding the president accountable for his actions is bad for the country.
Cruz has continually made baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud over the last few months and was one of six senators who objected to certifying the results of the presidential election. He’s not the only elected official to come out against impeachment and accountability, however.
In an interview on Fox News on Monday, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan echoed his colleague’s hollow call for unity and healing, arguing that pursuing impeachment will not bring the nation together.
“Now the Democrats are going to try to remove the president from office just seven days before he is set to leave anyway? I do not see how that unifies the country,” he said. Jordan, who also objected to the Electoral College count, was recently awarded the Presidential Medal Freedom for defending Trump during his first impeachment trial in 2019.
A group of House Republicans even wrote a letter to President-elect Joe Biden, urging him to ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to abandon her efforts to impeach the sitting president, warning that a second impeachment “is as unnecessary as it is inflammatory.”
It was not long before this rhetoric got picked up by Brian Kilmeade on Fox News, who argued that impeachment would only result in further violence. “This country is ready to explode. You saw what happened. You see the anger that the 74 million people feel,” Kilmeade said on Monday, suggesting that Democrats look the other way to “bring down the temperature.”
If you’re wondering how these calls for unity can simultaneously threaten violence, that’s because these lawmakers and pundits are not advocating for healing. They’re simply abdicating responsibility. After months of spreading misinformation about the election and riling up their base to “fight” for Trump, they don’t want to be held accountable for creating terrorists.
Impeaching a president for inciting an insurrection is no more divisive than the insurrection itself, and to simply give in to the demands of Trump supporters and extremists who wish to further harm our democracy is to negotiate with terrorists.
In order to have unity and healing, we must first have accountability. Without it, our democracy will only continue to weaken.