President Joe Biden threw aside his inaugural pledge to seek “unity,” declaring Monday evening that the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump “has to happen.”
Biden had previously been ambivalent about a trial, hinting that he opposed it, but saying he would let Congress decide.
Biden made the comment during a brief one-on-one interview with CNN in the halls of the West Wing. He acknowledged the effect it could have on his legislative agenda and Cabinet nominees but said there would be “a worse effect if it didn’t happen.”
Biden told CNN he believed the outcome would be different if Trump had six months left in his term, but said he doesn’t think 17 Republican senators will vote to convict Trump.
Five days before, Biden devoted his Inaugural Address to the theme of “unity,” mentioning the word no fewer than eight times. Yet despite knowing that the Senate is unlikely to convict Trump, and despite campaigning on the urgency of coronavirus relief, the 46th president is not only tolerating, but actively encouraging an effort to punish the 45th — who is no longer in office.
Many Republican Senators are arguing publicly that the Senate lacks jurisdiction to try a former president:
I object to this unconstitutional sham of an “impeachment” trial and I will force a vote on whether the Senate can hold a trial of a private citizen.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 25, 2021
On Special Report, @SenTomCotton says a Senate impeachment trial of a private citizen is beyond the Constitution’s authority.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 25, 2021
Biden said in his Inaugural Address: “[T]o restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity. Unity.”
The Senate will now have to divert time and resources to the trial, interfering with efforts to pass coronavirus relief.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.