UNF Political Science Professor speaks on the impeachment proceedings against Trump

Carter Mudgett, Student Government Reporter

The country is under extreme stress as political parties clash. President Donald Trump is yet again facing the threat of impeachment, filed Jan. 11. As Trump was acquitted of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges in early 2020, this would make the second time the president has fought an impeachment attempt. Dr. Michael Binder, a political science professor at UNF, spoke with the Spinnaker about recent events and their implications.

“This has never happened before [and] likely will never happen again,” stated Dr. Binder referring to the second impeachment efforts against Trump. “A unique place in history I think is where I’ll put this.”

As for what happened on Jan. 6 in Washington D.C., problems have been brewing within the Republican party for a long time, Dr. Binder explained. He says that the events at the capital were only a “symptom of a problem existing for years now.” 

Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. It’s been a stunning day as a number of lawmakers and then the mob of protesters tried to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (AP)

Dr. Binder believes there could be two reasons why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has chosen to move forward with impeachment. There are those who believe that Donald Trump was at the forefront of the effort in the capital, viewing it as an attack on the electoral process. Some secondary political aspirations could include a desire to prevent him from running again in 2024, but the main message is: “what we witnessed cannot go unpunished,” says Dr. Binder.

Dr. Binder does not foresee a conviction of Donald Trump prior to Jan. 20, but the act itself sends the message that this, “cannot be tolerated” and absolutely cannot happen again, says Binder. Even if Trump is convicted, the Senate must specifically choose to bar him from running for office in the future upon sentencing. Urgency is key in this situation and Dr. Binder predicts that the Articles of Impeachment will be quickly sent to the Senate.

Within a historical context, conservative voters may look towards the positives of his appointment of numerous conservative judges prior to the pandemic, a solid economy, and job growth prior to the pandemic.

However, Dr. Binder says “the last year of his presidency has been an abject failure. Donald Trump’s complete self-centered effort and some may say criminal activity last week amongst other things […] ruins what legacy he may have had.”

America is garnering lots of attention on a global scale and maintaining the democratic hallmark peaceful transition of power between presidents is important. Dr. Binder expressed his thankfulness that the parties currently appear to be working towards an orderly transition. However, as these recent events resolve, he says this will be an “infamous badge” for Donald Trump to wear throughout the rest of history.


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