The Trump administration has been plagued by scandal before, but the straw that has apparently broken the camel’s back is the Ukraine question. In a call, Trump allegedly asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, another candidate running in the 2020 presidential election, leading many to believe that Trump meant to incentivize Ukraine by withholding military funding. Trump has denied the allegations, and instead protested that other European countries should pay for Ukraine’s funding. The Ukraine revelation brings up many questions that the American public must consider: How should this scandal be interpreted by the Constitution? How will America deal with the fallout either way?
The repercussions of this investigation have been swift and devastating. Tensions are at an all-time high between people for and against impeachment. According to National Public Radio, 52 percent of Americans support impeachment/further investigation, while 39 percent say that the investigations should stop. Reflecting the statistics, many ‘Iolani faculty and students have varying answers. Zoe Stenger ’20 expresses hope for impeachment. “I do hope that the president of the United States is held accountable for his egregious actions, but more importantly, I hope our Congress can reach justice in an efficient manner,” said Stenger. Her stance, like many others, expresses cautious optimism toward the situation. “Although the evidence against Trump is overwhelming, I do not think it is possible to get a two thirds majority in the Senate to convict him. He will most likely be impeached but not convicted.” True to Stenger’s prediction, the House has voted to approve the two articles of impeachment, but they have not yet submitted the articles to the Senate, where the Republican majority has publicly stated their intention to acquit Trump as expeditiously as possible.
While the Senate is thinking on what best course of action to take, take into consideration that scandals have shook the White House and its officials before. To make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, a consensus must be reached. One of the most infamous scandals, Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal (in which a break-in of the Democratic National Committee was covered up) was rather domestic compared to Trump’s national scandal, as he has compromised the national security of Ukraine to assure “American victory.”
This scandal will certainly influence how Americans cast their votes in the 2020 presidential election. Beyond next year, however, the Trump impeachment investigation will no doubt leave a lasting mark on American history and international politics. For example, how far might future presidents stretch their executive power in similar circumstances? What about the children still in detainment camps, separated from their families? What of the dealings with countries like Russia and China?
Some have negative opinions of the whole affair in general. Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn disparages the investigation, saying, “The vote today by the Democrat-led House is a sham, a Mueller do-over, and an attempt to undo the 2016 election and remove a duly elected President from office.”
After countless tasteless remarks and reckless actions, including this one, the impeachment investigation seems to be a necessary step in determining whether or not President Trump remains president. At the same time, it is important to consider all the available information, especially in the context of the Constitution as the guiding framework our entire government. Mr. Russell Motter, an upper school history teacher, offers a more neutral opinion. “I would hope that students take a look through the lens of the Constitution and pass judgment for themselves if President Trump has acted in a way that presents a danger to the American people,” he said. While President Trump is not the only president to take part in a scandal, the American public should continue to form their own opinions and direct it towards improving the situation when wrongdoing happens. Most importantly, being able to identify and confront Trump’s behavior is imperative. If such history is forgotten, then we are doomed to repeat it.