Trump impeachment: Republicans face crucial question

Together with 50 Democratic senators, six Republicans have voted in favour of going ahead with an impeachment trial against Donald Trump after his term in office ended. For Trump to be found guilty of "incitement of insurrection" at least 17 Republicans would have to vote with the Democrats. Europe's press discusses why this is unlikely and what it says about the state of the Grand Old Party.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Suicide for fear of dying

Majid Sattar, Washington correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, explains why so many Republicans still stand by Trump:

“The senators are afraid to break with Trump because he has made clear that he is ready to destroy the Grand Old Party. A significant portion of his 74 million voters continue to back him. There are enough people to shoot down many renegade elected officials in the 2022 primaries. Alternatively, Trump has floated up the idea of a third party that would render the Republicans unable to win a majority for years. The Republican leadership in Congress is thus committing suicide for fear of dying.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Battle for the party's soul

The Republican Party has a tough time ahead of it, The Irish Times comments:

“This week's case is not just a trial of Donald Trump, it is a trial of the Republican party itself. Trump's departure from Washington has left a vacuum at the heart of Republican politics, as congressional Republicans grapple with the Trumpist movement they have inherited. The shocking events of the January 6th riot sparked a civil war within the Grand Old Party, accelerating a reckoning about the post-Trump landscape that the party was always bound to confront.”

Politiken (DK) /

The chance to break free

Politiken also sees a chance for a major change of course:

“The Republicans have accepted Trump's Faustian bargain for too long: in return for unconditional loyalty, he delivered conservative judges and conservative politics. But now Trump is no longer part of the game. ... The Republicans should make use of this opportunity to escape the ex-president's moral quagmire. So: find Trump guilty - which he clearly is - and use the impeachment to rebuild the party. That would be good not only for the US but also for the Republicans themselves. The Democrats need a conservative opposition. And a responsible Republican party willing and able to work together to get America back on track.”

The Independent (GB) /

Friends of Trump should want him convicted

The Independent explains why even Republicans who are loyal to Trump should support his impeachment:

“Their greatest dream come true is a ban on him ever seeking office again. That way they can court the right-wing populist base for their own gain, using him as a martyr for the cause. It's entirely in their interest to give a wink and nod to the rest of the caucus to find enough Republicans to reach 17. Subsequently attacking them as traitorous wouldn't impact the 20 who just won re-election to the Senate, since they don't have to worry about backlash from their own Cult member constituents until 2026 - by which time this whole sorry chapter will be forgotten.”