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Cross Currents: Should Trump be banned from holding office?

The Channels Opinion Pages | CROSS CURRENTS
Alloy Zarate
Illustration by Alloy Zarate, 2020

Donald Trump is the first president to face two charges of impeachment. The House first indicted Trump for abuse of power. Now, they are trying him for incitement of insurrection. The Democrats want to prevent Trump from ever holding office again through impeachment. Should Trump be barred from holding office in the future or are the Democrats overreacting?  


Cole Federbusch, Staff Writer


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On January 6th, Trump urged his supporters to walk down to the Capitol, telling them “you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength.”

Trump’s charges of incitement of insurrection are where his main problems lie but not where they began. Even before the election, Trump claimed that voter fraud would be the only way he could lose. By planting this false narrative in the minds of voters, Trump caused Americans to question the validity of their democratic process.

In order to preserve this process, Trump should be banned from running for office in the future.

As we know, Trump lost the election and no evidence was found that backed his claims of fraud.

Still, Trump used these unfounded allegations to exploit public opinion and manipulate voters. The Capitol riots were a prime example of why this is so dangerous. Rioters invaded the Capitol under the impression that they were protesting their right to a fair election when in retrospect they were misinformed. 

As a public servant, Trump is responsible for the messages he conveys and the effect those messages have on the public.

When COVID-19 began, Trump refused to accept the dangers of the deadly virus and told Americans that it was a hoax.

The core responsibility of the President of the United States is to protect American democracy. Trump not only failed to protect our democratic process and manipulated voters in order to achieve personal gains.

Americans who don’t want Trump banned from office argue that the impeachment would be unconstitutional. They claim that Trump’s violations are protected by free speech articles, found in the first amendment.

However, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment tells a different story.

The section states, “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. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.” 

By creating a false narrative about election fraud and using that narrative to incite violence, the ex-president violated the 14th Amendment and should be tried accordingly. 

Barring Trump from office is imperative because it sends a message about our government’s commitment to upholding democracy. The instigation of violence against our own Capitol should not go unprosecuted.


Jacob Frank, Associate Editor


Yes, the former president can be banned from holding public office, and maybe he should be, but the grounds for which he should be removed arguably apply to the same people voting to remove him. As of right now, it is unlikely that the Senate will even receive the two-thirds majority vote to convict him of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

What is shaky to me is whether or not that matters.

Political scholars are at odds as to how much power the Senate has over this impeachment trial. Some say Trump doesn’t even need to be convicted for them to try and ban him from office. Others say he first has to be convicted before they can try to additionally punish him. 

This is no criminal trial, and senators basically get to make the rules. I don’t really trust our senators to do what is right for the right reasons.

When it comes down to it, senators aren’t trying to prove that Trump should be legally accountable for some action, they are trying to decide how to deal with an official who could be a threat to the republic.

“It’s not about punishing an individual for what they’ve done. It’s rather removing a danger to the republic for their abuse of power or illegal conduct,” said law professor at George Mason University Ilya Somin in an interview with WUSA 9.

For that reason, this trial is very political for the senators and has a direct impact on their image.

“There are political considerations in how you vote and what it means for your future elections,” said Robert Peck, President of the Center for Constitutional Litigation, in the same article. 

What is important is to remember who our senators are, and what kind of dog they may have in this fight.

Republican senators, and any senator or politician for that matter, are notorious for flip-flopping on political views. One minute they defend Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, the next they are voting to convict him.

Sometimes they flip in the same sentence.

In the Washington Post, writer Aaron Blake reported an instance with Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer, who accused Trump of inciting the insurrection, then quickly turned and said it wasn’t his fault.

It’s hard because if you believe that Trump has to go – and never come back – then it doesn’t matter what the senators say as long as they vote to get rid of the president who did much more than just hold a fiery rally over the course of his tenure. 

Even if Trump is a direct threat to the republic, the ones making decisions and deciding his fate aren’t trustworthy themselves.

The point is not to look directly at Trump as the end-all-be-all for our “democracy.” There are plenty more threats to the United States if these are the grounds that we are accusing him of.

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