A tale of two impeachments: GOP’s divergent views of Clinton and Trump | READER COMMENTARY
For The Baltimore Sun|
Feb 12, 2020 | 3:14 PM
Jonah Goldberg has once again offered thoughtful commentary on President Donald Trump’s recent impeachment, which likely hit many marks for many readers (“Trump may do something worse emboldened by his acquittal,” Feb. 7). I would disagree with one statement, though, quoted from Ken Starr, who opined that we may be entering an “age of impeachment” (where the constitutional process becomes weaponized for partisan purposes).
I suggest that train left the station in 1999 when a Democratic president was impeached for the “high crime” of lying about his extramarital affairs. It was galling this year to hear some of the same Republicans preaching about the frivolity of the current investigations. Whether or not Mr. Trump’s misdeeds warranted his removal, now a moot point, the partisan piety about “setting a high bar” for impeachable offenses rings hollow to the point of absurdity in light of Mr. Clinton’s sins, versus those of Mr. Trump. The Clinton impeachment, in my opinion, stank to high heaven of partisan revenge for the fall of Richard Nixon. Conversely, the Democrats in 2019 went after a president whose conduct in office they interpreted as meeting the Constitutional description of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
At the end of it all, the two presidents, neither one having been removed, reacted with telling difference to their respective acquittals. President Clinton apologized to the nation for his misdeeds, before returning to the country’s business. President Trump bragged about “getting away with” his misdeeds, and took revenge on functionaries who had testified against him by firing them (along with the brother of one who hadn’t been involved), then gave a couple of scabrous, vitriolic speeches about how wronged he was by the people who dared to hold him to account.
Call me whatever you want, but comparison of the two cases escapes me on these points.