Removing Trump From Office Would Come at a Steep Price

Cartoon Op-Ed

Donald Trump, investigations
Nobody has ever done so much in the first two years of a presidency. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0). See complete attribution below.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Lots of people are rejoicing at the prospect of President Donald Trump being exposed as a con man and a grifter. They believe that either a Democratic House or various investigations into Trump’s campaign, administration, foundation, and businesses will bring down the president. But people hoping for this outcome need to be very careful what they wish for — because that will only happen at a very steep price.

Chatter of Trump’s imminent reckoning picked up following the midterms when it became clear that Democrats with subpoena power would soon be able to hold the president to account. It reached a fever pitch with new revelations this month of him being implicated in crimes as “Individual-1,” as well as reports that Michael Cohen and the National Enquirer were talking to prosecutors about Trump’s personal involvement in hush payments to a porn star and a Playboy model.

However, the many people giddy about the president’s mounting legal and political problems may not have thought things through. Because an indictment or an impeachment of Trump would not be the end, it would only be the beginning of something very, very bad.

As with so many things concerning the current occupant of the White House, there is no precedent for what would happen — but it won’t be pretty.

With one exception, US presidents have left office only because they decided not to run again, had served the maximum number of terms, died, or were defeated and peacefully handed over power. The sole outlier was President Richard Nixon, who resigned when it became clear that he would otherwise be impeached by the House and likely convicted of “high crimes and misdemeanors” by the Senate.

On August 8, 1974, he signed his letter of resignation, packed his things, got in a helicopter and left. That was it.

If you think that Trump would do the same in a similar situation, then you have not been paying attention. There is no chance that he would go quietly. None!

It is much more likely that he would burn the country to the ground in order to try to save himself. Because Donald Trump has never done anything that benefited anybody other than himself or his kids.

If this sounds far-fetched, then consider that the president is already laying the groundwork for this scorched-earth approach. On the one hand, he has conditioned his most loyal supporters to reject facts, to only believe what he tells them, and to overlook any of his transgressions. On the other, he has systematically undermined the press, the courts, and the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.

So, what do you think those supporters are going to do when he is impeached in Congress or indicted in a criminal court? Trump himself offered his thoughts on the issue last week: “I’m not concerned,” the president told Reuters when asked about the prospects of being impeached. “I think that the people would revolt if that happened.”

That might not be a far-fetched theory, especially if Trump fans the flames, which he would probably do if it looked like nothing else could save him.

And it would probably not even take an indictment or impeachment to trigger the president’s desperate fight for survival.

The New York Times reported last week that New York prosecutors have already checked the statute of limitations for the campaign-finance violations Trump is believed to have committed. They concluded that charges can be brought against the president if he is not reelected.

The likely result is that Trump will do anything to prevent that from happening, so look for unprecedented levels of propaganda, voter suppression, using government resources to dig up dirt on opponents, etc.

None of this is to say that Trump shouldn’t be indicted or impeached once it’s determined the facts warrant it. But if the case to do either isn’t absolutely watertight, then get ready for one of the nastiest chapters in US history. And even if the indictment or the impeachment is a slam dunk, Trump will still leave a path of destruction in his wake, so those in charge better proceed very carefully.

The cartoon above was created by DonkeyHotey for WhoWhatWhy from these images: Donald Trump caricature (DonkeyHotey / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), and walls (Leon Yaakov / Flickr).

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8 responses to “Removing Trump From Office Would Come at a Steep Price”

  1. Mik says:

    If Trump has broken laws, the Government has to arrest and try him for each specific law he broke. The fallout is irrelevant. We will face reality once we know what the reality of his actions are.

    The world moves forward on truth, not lies, anyway. But lies at his level of government, if criminal, can have a very dangerous impact on American stability. America is far more important to me, to us, to the world, than this idiot Trump will ever be.

  2. Venus says:

    He and his admin., must be arrested now, and anyone on his side after that trying to cause riots and violence will be arrested as well under the act of terrorism. That’s how the Dems need to take action. We no longer should have to tolerate the intolerance or be afraid of this orange man. Out NOW ! The sooner the better for all in this country.

  3. roger says:

    Let us remember who will step into Pinocchio’s shoes when he get’s tossed into the fire. I’m not entirely convinced that Pence will be any better. Worse even. At least we are aware of the shenanigans a crazy horse in a hospital can produce. It’s the quiet ones we need to worry about. All things will come out in the wash as they tend to do. The question is how much damage are we willing as an electorate to accept before we send the horse to the glue factory?

  4. Manqueman says:

    Impeachment too soon would have a huge cost.
    Being forced to impeach, as will be almost unavoidable, will not. I believe that Trump’s behavior and the result of Mueller and House investigations will make it inevitable. Dems will fail to impeach at risk, the Rs will fail to convict at their own risk.

  5. Odyssios says:

    Yes, I completely agree. The investigations should go ahead, as the truth must be unveiled – and if there is no ‘truth’, why is he fighting it so desperately? – BUT, while Trump must be removed, it must be by the electorate as a whole. Any one party – however justified – mounting an impeachment attack, would indeed provoke pretty vicious backlash.

    He may not even be the Republicans’ chosen one for 2020. He’s becoming too bad for business, and has handed the Republican Funders more (taxes, regulatory rollback, judicial appointments) than they even dared dream of in early 2016.

    Investigate, document, let the whole thing simmer. But don’t even move to impeach, it would get you no more than you’re going to get without it – his removal. And in any case, it’ll take most of the remainder of his term to run the impeachment. Don’t believe me? Just try!

    Yes, he must be removed. But by the same process that elected him – the US Constitutional system.

  6. Ben Robertson says:

    Re the statutes of limitations – I believe that a sealed indictment stops the clock on any applicable statute.

  7. Floridatexan says:

    The cost of allowing him to continue in office would be much higher. OUT. NOW.

  8. stevor says:

    so, you couldn’t face the truth of my comment?
    No surprise. (can’t let the sheeple see the logic of a contrary opinion)