Fil-Ams across the aisle weigh in on historic impeachment
WITH the end of his term approaching, President Donald Trump on Wednesday, January 13 became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives.
The House voted 232-197 on a single article of impeachment, charging the president with “incitement of insurrection,” exactly a week after a violent mob stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were in session, and left five individuals, including a police officer, dead.
Deviating from the rest of their party, 10 Republicans — including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the party’s third-ranking House leader — voted in favor alongside Democrats, becoming the most bipartisan impeachment to date.
“Today, in a bipartisan way, the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States and that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after formally signing the article of impeachment.
The Senate trial is slated to take place right after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office next week on January 20, while the legislative branch also juggles confirmation hearings of the new Cabinet appointments.
If convicted by the Senate, Trump — who will be a former president by then — will be disqualified from holding office in the future and will lose benefits under the Former Presidents Act, including a $200,000 pension and an annual travel budget.
Trump’s first impeachment by the House came in 2019 with his dealings with Ukraine in question, but he was acquitted by the Republican-led Senate last year.
Hours later, the White House’s official accounts posted a video of the president in which he condemned the riots, but made no mention of the impeachment vote or his successor.
The president — who has since been banned from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook — said he “unequivocally condemn[ed]” last week’s “troubling events” carried out by supporters, changing course from his previous video from Jan. 6 in which he called them “special.”
“As I have said, the incursion of the U.S. Capitol struck at the heart of our very republic. It angered and appalled millions of Americans across the political spectrum,” Trump said.
Ahead of Biden’s inauguration, protests would reportedly take place in Washington, D.C. and in all 50 state capitals.
“Every American deserves to have their voice heard in a respectful and peaceful way. That is your First Amendment right, but I cannot emphasize that there must be no violence, no law-breaking and no vandalism of any kind,” the president said, adding, “I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement.”
Following Wednesday’s impeachment, Filipino Americans from both sides of the aisle weighed in on what the moment means for the country.
“Today’s bipartisan vote reaffirms the fundamental truth that the security of our democracy is our first priority. It is my hope that the Senate will convict and remove Donald Trump and we can all move forward from this dark chapter in our nation’s history.
I look forward to working with the incoming Biden Administration to begin healing our country,” Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia’s 3rd District said following his vote to impeach.
TJ Cox, a former Democratic congressman from California, took to Twitter to address the Republicans who voted against holding Trump accountable.
“The vast majority of Republican House members voted to protect the man who unleashed a mob to terrorize Congress in order to overturn the fair and free election of Joe Biden,” Cox said, adding, “There’s only one way to hold these bootlickers accountable – organize, mobilize and vote them out of office in 2022. That starts today.”
Rep. David Valadao, who defeated Cox last November, was the only California Republican lawmaker who voted to impeach, choosing “to go with my gut and vote my conscience.”
Gloria Caoile, a Las Vegas-based community leader and senior advisor for Fil-Ams for Biden-Harris, said impeachment was “the best avenue to hold President Trump accountable.”
“We need accountability first and foremost. I do not buy into the argument that we should just ignore the events of last week so we can move forward with healing and unity.
Holding all those who broke the law accountable is a necessity. Reconciliation will then come after we fulfill our moral and civic responsibility,” Caoile told the Asian Journal.
Cristina Osmeña, a writer and former Republican candidate for California’s congressional district who previously vocalized her criticisms of the Trump administration, said “most legacy Republicans are mortified by the events of the prior week.”
“I think, at this point, history will hold Trump accountable as his administration is about to pass into that realm,” Osmeña told the Asian Journal.
Though concerned about the actions of Big Tech companies and the Democratic Party’s majority in Congress, what gives her hope is Biden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s long-standing working relationship.
“But if Trump maintains an active presence in the party, it will be difficult to move forward. It is still too early to tell what will happen. I would guess that last week has left a permanent impression on mainstream Republicans. Any future leaders will have to have a strong message against violence. I hope the left does the same,” she said.
For Marc Ang, founder and president of Asian Industry Business-to-Business, however, impeachment was not warranted, and he instead is calling for more investigations into what caused the security breach at the Capitol.
As a staunch Republican, he is not deterred by the incoming Biden administration and Democratic-controlled Congress.
“The Democrats have the slimmest of House and Senate majorities so there is no big mandate. I encourage people from both sides to understand it’s ok to have been emotional, but moments too shall pass and focus back on the big picture,” Ang told the Asian Journal, calling on fellow Republicans to push for causes they care about like immigration and election reform.
Though the GOP may have lost the White House and Senate seats in Georgia, there are other wins from the 2020 election cycle to “be very proud of” and that the party should continue to represent “the everyday man and working class.”
“In addition, we control a huge majority of all state legislatures on the local level, allowing us control over redistricting for the next decade. 2022 and 2024 will be good years for the GOP. But the GOP will also do some much-needed soul searching on how they handle a larger life character like President Trump who brought so many new people to the party. It will have to assess what they can do when they have the three branches of government,” Ang said.