Americans react to historic second Trump impeachment

By Sam Cabral
BBC News, Washington


President Donald Trump has just become the only US president to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives. He was impeached on Wednesday for "incitement of insurrection" following last week's riot at the US Capitol. However, a recent poll suggests that a majority of Republicans still support President Trump and don't hold him responsible for the violence.

We've been hearing from lawmakers - but what do Americans think? We asked members of our BBC voter panel to weigh in.

Belinda is an attorney and devoted Trump supporter of Native American and African American ancestry. She says this second impeachment vote is wrong and misconstrues the facts of what happened last week in favour of political expediency.

This is unprecedented. There is no justification, no legal or constitutional basis for this impeachment. He did not even receive due process. It's a rush to judgment for ulterior motives and a dark stain on our country. I'm afraid our Constitution is on its deathbed. I hope the American people will stand up against this outrage. It's indicative of what would happen in a communist country where we have no free speech rights.

Those who broke in should be charged appropriately for whatever laws they violated. But why would anybody who's rational think that our president meant for people to go break into the Capitol? His rallies have always been peaceful and most of the people on Wednesday were middle-aged and elderly, with children and grandchildren.

Individuals who violated the law should definitely be prosecuted but I don't see how you can blame someone for a speech and someone else's criminal activity. It can't be selective enforcement of the law.

Melissa is a Filipino American small business owner with two children who had told us the country could not afford four more years of Donald Trump. She says the behaviour he displayed last Wednesday was undoubtedly an impeachable offense.

Everything he has done is unconstitutional and, as a president, the number one thing he should be doing is upholding the Constitution.

[Republican Congresswoman] Liz Cheney said that, if not for the president, last week would not have happened and she's right. If not for him continually fighting the election results, if not for him repeatedly sending the false message the election was stolen, if not for him holding that rally near the Capitol, if not for him talking about an 'uprising', last week would very likely not have happened.

Even three months ago, before all the lawsuits and everything else he was saying, I was not shocked by his behaviour. It's all completely predictable because it's just within his character. So the argument by politicians that impeachment could divide us more, I don't see that as the goal of impeachment.

It can't help but I don't think it will have any impact on deterring violence. There needs to be some kind of statement that the president is not allowed to attack another branch of government. It's a chance for the Republican Party to rid itself of Trump's stranglehold on them.

Gabriel is a regional coordinator for the New York Young Republicans and is an outspoken 'Latino for Trump'. He condemns the violence of last Wednesday but says the reaction has been unfair and worries about where the party will go from here.

I do not think that Donald Trump should be impeached. I was in DC at the rally on 6 January - I did not go near the Capitol and went back to my hotel room - but I saw the president speak with my own eyes and he did not call for anyone to storm the building or cause harm.

This is just a way to ensure he will not run in the next four years. It is political and it will create a bigger divide between left and right. I fear that people will become reactionary and elected officials will use impeachment in the future not as a last resort to uphold our republic but as a tool to remove whoever they don't agree with.

All violence should be condemned fairly and justly. It was a very sad outcome, but I do not believe it was the most horrible day in our country's history and it was not a coup. It's important to dictate that violence is not the answer. The day was supposed to be different. January 6 did something to the Republican Party. The actions of the few will discourage many of the new voters that Trump brought in and made his base.

Williams is a first-generation Mexican American college student in Atlanta who has been extremely concerned about what he has seen in his country over the past four years. He says the events of the past week justify today's vote in the House.

I believe he should have been impeached. Not only is he a threat to our national security, but he doesn't condemn white supremacy and other threats. That affects us internally within the United States as well as abroad.

It's more of a symbolic impeachment at this point because he'll be out soon, but it's necessary nonetheless. Impeachment failed once, but now he has set the precedent that a president can be impeached more than once.

In processing the past week, all I could do at first was to ignore it and joke about the situation. It's deeply saddening to me.