We the people of the United States of America are deeply invested in the impeachment trial now underway in the U.S. Senate, prompted by two articles of impeachment brought by the House of Representatives.
But the House, we should remember, omitted several other potential grounds for impeachment, including racism, sexism and what the Dalai Lama aptly called the president's "lack of moral principle."
The House sought to simplify the impeachment process in the hopes of successfully removing the president from office. That was a tactical decision. But President Donald Trump could just as easily be impeached for his other offenses.
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, introduced articles of impeachment against Trump for racism after tweets in July 2019 telling four young congresswomen of color to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." This is a president who has referred to African countries as "s - holes," Mexicans as "rapists," and neo-Nazis as "very fine people."
To be clear: bigotry, racism, and white nationalism are impeachable offenses. They were, in fact, a big part of the reason that President Andrew Johnson was impeached.
Trump could and probably should be facing impeachment for his disregard of human rights. Over the past 12 months, at least six migrant children between the ages of 2 and 16 have died in federal custody. U.S. immigration officials have separated more than 5,400 children from their migrant parents at our southern border. Hundreds of those children were locked up in cages, a clear violation of international law. Some experts with the United Nations' Human Rights Council believe this Trump policy may have amounted to "torture."
Trump has also incited violence. On at least eight occasions identified by media sources, he has encouraged his supporters, including members of the armed forces, to attack his political opponents. The president is a threat to law and order.
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And then there's fraud: In November 2016, Trump settled three different fraud lawsuits related to Trump University for $25 million. Last November, the New York attorney general formally announced that the president paid $2 million for misusing charitable funds for his own political gain and his Trump Foundation was shut down for misconduct.
In these trying times, I reached back to listen to the eloquent opening statement made by the late Barbara Jordan, a U.S. congresswoman from Texas, at the House Judiciary Committee hearings considering impeachment of Richard Nixon. Jordan acted as a moral compass during that time of crisis.
"I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution," Jordan declared, saying that the jurisdiction for her involvement "comes from the abuse or violation of some public trust." She added, "If the society today allows wrongs to go unchallenged, the impression is created that those wrongs have the approval of the majority."
The House of Representatives did not let Trump's conduct go unchallenged. But it did not challenge him for all that it could.
For communities of color, Trump has long since violated our public trust, and we know that a multitude of possible articles were excluded.
It is time to hold the president accountable. We the people demand that the Senate vote to convict and remove this president.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Debra Gore-Mann is president and CEO of The Greenlining Institute, www.greenlining.org. This column was produced for the Progressive Media Project, which is run by The Progressive magazine, and distributed by Tribune News Service.