“Prudence means understanding your situation, seeing what good can be accomplished in it, knowing what options are both morally legitimate and likely successful—and then pursuing the wisest goal in the wisest way”

Brian C. Collins

Unquestionably, President Trump’s words and actions were the catalyst for the mob invasion of the nation’s Capital. By its vote to Impeach him, the House of Representatives held Donald Trump solely responsible for the violent and deadly insurrection which he hoped would overthrow the Congress and reverse a free and fair election he lost. 

While Trump’s second Impeachment has forever tarnished his presidential legacy, a Senate trial, where a conviction is far from certain, would be anticlimactic given he will no longer be president by the time any verdict is rendered and would not prevent him for running again.  Any Senate trial would also impair President Biden’s ability to have his Cabinet nominees confirmed and much of his domestic and international agendas seriously considered. 

If preventing Donald Trump from serving a second term as president, favored by most Democrats and Independents and a growing number of Republicans, is the ultimate goal, a potentially less cumbersome avenue might be looking to Section 3 for the 14th Amendment, “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof”. 

While the Amendment’s language does not specifically mention a president, “an officer of the United States”, would clearly seem to apply; and such a resolution would require a simple majority vote in both the House and Senate, not the ⅔ super-majority vote in the Senate for an Impeachment conviction.

Not to be overlooked is that if Trump was not convicted by the Senate it could dramatically embolden both the former president as well as his followers who live in a world of alternative facts and accept his every utterance as the gospel.

Beginning on January 20th, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell should cooperatively devote 100% of their time focusing on the COVID testing, hospitalization and vaccination crisis; helping Americans economically impacted by the pandemic; our sluggish economy; environment challenges; justice reform; and, perhaps most important, seeking ways to bridge to chasms between the extreme factions of their respective parties; while hoping Donald Trump and his assault on our democracy and its institutions rapidly fade into annals of historic dishonor where they belong.