Trump’s impeachment and the probabilities

Trump’s impeachment and the probabilities
US Constitution on Impeachment

By Carl Umegboro/ Op-Ed


PRESIDENT of the United States of America, Donald Trump is no doubt in the midst of the storm having been impeached by the House of Representatives. Trump was accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress which tantamount to gross misconducts. However, the Senate is yet to make its verdict. Making the matter worse, the latest opinion poll reportedly conducted in the United States revealed that majority favoured Trump’s impeachment. 

Peradventure the Senate; upper chamber of the United States Congress pursuant to Article 1, Section 3 (6) and (7) of the US Constitution affirmed the verdict, Trump’s political career is ruined. And if a vote for his removal eventually scaled through, Trump will pack his luggage to join the league of fired presidents in the world. This is no good time for embattled Trump at all. The ‘impeachment’ tag on his neck already is not a positive scorecard let alone removal from office.
In the US history, Andrew Johnson on February 24, 1868 was impeached by House of Representatives for violating the Tenure of Office Act but not removed from office by the Senate. Bill Clinton was similarly impeached by the lower Congress on December 19, 1998 over perjury and obstruction of justice but pardoned by the Senate. Clinton’s antecedents and comportments compellingly appeased Senate’s ‘red card’.

Believably, Clinton’s maturity and charisma distinctively worked in his favour after his indictment, possibly his understanding that sovereignty belongs to the people. In the heat of his saga, Clinton evoked emotions and actually wept for his debaucheries before the Congress unlike Trump’s bossy displays and counter-attacks. In a democracy, the legislature and judiciary call the shots.
Other impeachment attempts in the United States include John Tyler on January 10, 1843 who encountered an impeachment motion but a resolution failed to scale through.  James Buchanan on June 16, 1860 faced his own heat, but the committee found nothing substantial to warrant his impeachment. 

However, it is worthy of note that impeachment under the US legal system is merely a formal indictment and not absolute removal from office as it applies in other countries including Nigeria where impeachment connotes dismissal from office.

Furthermore, Richard Nixon in his own case on August 9, 1974 resigned before formal vote, whilst George W. Bush on June 11, 2008 also survived as though a resolution was referred to a committee but no further action taken. These records significantly attest that democracy is at work in the United States and above all, sovereignty indeed belongs to the people.

Back to Trump’s saga, apart from party influence, Trump’s chances are quite slim. His move to reverse Same-sex marriage in the United States which his predecessor, Barack Obama signed into law amidst controversy believably boosted his legitimacy after his controversial win against Democrat’s candidate, Hilary Clinton, former US-Secretary of State. In fact, the attempts to achieve it through an Executive bill was perceived as a blunder which made political analysts reduce it to a mere propaganda.

Arguably, President Trump’s leadership style may be said to be shambolic vis-à-vis the position of United States in the world space. Most of Trump’s speeches lack diplomacy, and unedifying which leave much to be desired from an occupant of US White House. For instance, Trump had some time ago contemptuously docketed African continent as shitholes.

In another occasion, Trump referred his Nigerian counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari as ‘lifeless’ on account of health challenges at that time. And many others. His delight in segregation is apparent and monumental. Unlike him, Clinton during his historic visit to Nigeria in 2000 passionately demanded to have a taste of rural life with downtrodden class which led to his presence at Ushafa Village on August 27, 2000 where he remarkably, cheerfully shook the hands of hundreds of poor villagers who were desperate to touch him. That’s exemplary leadership.
In fact, the manner Trump unstintingly speaks may subject one to ponder if the White House truly have media aides attached to the President. Arguably, Trump lacks experience for administrative governance. I must add, the manner Trump disparages or belittles non-Americans is irksome. Without doubt, America is advanced than many countries but decorum is requisite. 

Another spiteful feature of Trump’s leadership is double-standard or divide-and-rule. Trump’s administration had in recent times spared a bigwig with presidential ambition allegedly linked to Halliburton case involving then Louisiana Representative, William J. Jefferson. Not long, it indicted another citizen of the same country, Allen Onyema; chairman of Air Peace over similar crimes and called for his extradition for prosecution. This is quite unlike United States where equality before the law has long been entrenched.

No doubt, as an entrepreneur, Trump had fortunately recorded success in private businesses. Incidentally, ability to control private enterprises differs from that of public service which follows outlined procedures and strict guide by the constitution. Thus, managing private businesses differs from public administration where sundry intrigues and diplomacy must play out. Usually, private sector is characterized by monocracy with bosses operating domineeringly and highhandedly.

This, therefore is a message for magnates that every now and then jump the queue to vie for the topmost office without any administrative or managerial experiences other than business profile alongside stout bank accounts. Trump in particular has a lot of works to do in this regard, and must necessarily learn from his errors as well as predecessors. Leadership positions may be procured or fortuitously acquired but attributes of leadership may not, as they come by intensive trainings. 

To summarize, America must expeditiously, conscientiously reposition its governance for prominence in the global sphere as developing countries look up to it for positive and progressive directions. By its long period of democracy; roughly three centuries, certain standards are necessarily indispensable. Nonetheless, as then US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law in 1956, the watchword aptly remains, “In God we trust”.


Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom). 08023184542 – SMS only.