By Edmund Shryock, Political Correspondent
On January 20, 2021, the world looked to Washington D.C. as President Joe Biden was officially inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, continuing the 232-year tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. However, this Inauguration Day looked vastly different due to the Coronavirus, as the national mall was not crowded with people but covered with American flags. Kamala Harris was also sworn in as the first woman Vice President in American history.
The tone of this inauguration was different as it was four years ago, as a theme of unity was a major bullet point in President Biden’s Inauguration Speech. “We look ahead in our uniquely American way – restless, bold, optimistic – and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be,” stated Biden, as he spoke in the exact spot where weeks prior violent rioters stood trying to stop his certification as President.
Another difference in this inauguration compared to previous ones was that former President Trump did not show up to the inauguration, becoming just the fourth President in history to purposely not attend his successor’s inauguration. This showed the vast differences between Biden and Trump’s personalities and their feelings towards each other. Trump left the White House before the inauguration with Melania and his son Barron on Marine One. They landed at Andrews Air Force Base where Trump gave a farewell speech to his supporters at the same time as the inauguration. Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence did not join him, however. Pence attended the inauguration with his wife, showing the gap that was formed between the two after Pence did not stop the certifying of the 2020 electoral ballots like Trump wanted him to.
As Biden stepped into the White House, Trump stepped into a Senate Impeachment Trial. The trial lasted from February 9-13. Ultimately, Trump was acquitted on charges of “incitement of insurrection,” as the 57-43 senate vote fell ten votes short of the necessary ⅔ majority to convict him. The seven Republican votes for conviction represented the largest bipartisan vote for an impeachment conviction of a U.S. president.
On January 13, 2021, Donald Trump became the first President in history to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives. The vote passed with 222 Democrats and 10 Republicans voting to impeach, breaking party lines. However, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnel did not push to have the senate trial start until after Trump was out of office. If the Senate had found Trump guilty in the impeachment trial he would have immediately been removed from office.
However, since Trump was already voted out by the people, he could have faced a different set of consequences. If the Senate had convicted Trump, then he would have been the first President to actually be convicted (although it would have taken another vote to have Trump barred from office, meaning he could not run for President again). Another vote from the Senate would have also stripped Trump from his post-Presidency benefits, such as a yearly salary and his own personal secret service for life.
Trump could still face a criminal prosecution or civil lawsuit arising from the Capitol assault, and The Shoemaker Bugle will update this story if anything comes up.