Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday December 19, 2019
‘Historic rebuke’: what the US papers say about Trump’s impeachment
There was not much debate on the top story in the US on Thursday morning, with the two votes to impeach Donald Trump getting near universal coverage.
“Trump impeached” is the headline in one of the president’s least favourite papers, the Washington Post. It devotes its entire front page to coverage, under a picture of speaker Nancy Pelosi. One headline reads: “An impeachment that mirrors his presidency: Disruption and division”. Alongside a picture of the president at the rally he hosted at the same time as the House vote, the Post runs the headline: “Unclear path to a virtually certain Senate acquittal”.
On Twitter the paper also posted its front pages for Clinton’s impeachment (1998) and that of Andrew Johnson (1868).
The New York Times carries exactly the same headline (“Trump impeached”), saying after “fierce arguments, House approves a charge that he abused power”.
The paper’s editorial says Republicans are “following him (Trump) down” and that “ignoring facts and trashing the impeachment process is no way to protect democracy”. It says there is plenty of blame to go around, “but the nihilism of this moment – the trashing of constitutional safeguards, the scorn for facts, the embrace of corruption, the indifference to historical precedent and to foreign interference in American politics — is due principally to cowardice and opportunism on the part of Republican leaders who have chosen to reject their party’s past standards and positions and instead follow Donald Trump, all the way down.”
USA Today splashes with one word: “Impeached”, and says the Clinton impeachment is a “study in contrasts”. The paper’s editorial headline is: “Donald Trump’s impeachment defenders set a dangerous precedent”.
“The Republicans have engaged in a whole pattern of behavior that will undermine Congress’ ability to serve as a check on presidential overreach,” it writes, adding that the Senate jurors like Lindsay Graham, who has said he will not pretend to be fair in the impeachment trial “are colluding with the defense lawyers to help ensure a favorable outcome at trial”.
Politico magazine’s front cover also has a one-word headline: “Impeached”, over a picture of Trump. It says the house has delivered a “historic rebuke” and describes Trump’s conduct as “A bruised ego, a Twitter eruption and a winding rally”.
The paper reports that although the White House was keen to suggest this was just a normal day for the president, and that Trump was “busy working and only ‘between meetings’ catching snippets of the action on the House floor, his Twitter feed belied that claim and showed a president obsessed with the historic nature of this day.”
Politico said that through four dozen tweets and retweets, “Trump did not shy away from weighing in on his favorite medium. “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!, he tweeted around lunchtime Wednesday.” (The Guardian) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/19/historic-rebuke-what-the-us-papers-say-about-trumps-impeachment