A majority of American voters surveyed in the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol believe that twice-impeached President Donald Trump should be barred from ever running for office again, according to polling results reported exclusively by The Hill on Tuesday, his last full day in office.
“Speeches aren’t enough. The Senate must hold this lawless + corrupt + dangerous president accountable.”
—Rep. Rashida TlaibThe survey was conducted by the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll from January 12 to 14; it found that 57% of U.S. voters think Trump—who entered politics in 2015 to run for president—shouldn’t be allowed to seek office in the future, compared with 43% who don’t support such a ban.
Though he will leave office when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Wednesday, Trump still faces a trial in the U.S. Senate after House Democrats—joined by just 10 Republicans—voted last week to impeach him for inciting the violent siege of the Capitol on January 6 with his repeated lies about the November election.
Although 87% of Democratic voters want Trump barred from running for political office again, 76% of Republicans disagree. The poll also showed that voters are largely split on impeachment, with 51% calling the effort “legitimate” given that he provoked the Capitol attack and 49% accusing lawmakers of “playing politics.”
“The post-Capitol-riot polling on Trump is mixed as he maintained a fairly high job approval rating in our poll, but 48% said he should be impeached vs. censure or doing nothing, and a majority favored a ban on his running in the future,” Mark Penn, the director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, told The Hill. “This was seen as an appropriate penalty at this point.”
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday made clear that restoring trust in U.S. democracy is a key priority with Democrats set to take control of the chamber on Wednesday by the slimmest margin possible—with President-elect Kamala Harris breaking any tie votes.
The Democratic leader said on the Senate floor Tuesday that Trump “is a threat to our constitutional order” and “after what he has done, the consequences of which we were all witness to, Donald Trump should not be eligible to run for office ever again.”
“So let me be clear: There will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate,” Schumer said. “There will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors—and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer: "Donald Trump should not be eligible to run for office ever again." pic.twitter.com/nUMIiGRyJ5— The Hill (@thehill) January 19, 2021
After a pair of Democrats who won runoff races in Georgia and Harris’ replacement are sworn in on Wednesday, there will be a 50-50 split in the Senate. Two-thirds of senators would have to vote to convict Trump.
Schumer is reportedly working out a power-sharing agreement with outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has come under fire in recent days for not immediately reconvening after the House impeachment vote.
Neither Schumer nor McConnell nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said when the trial will begin, but according to The Hill, the earliest one could start, “if the House submits the article of impeachment, is on Wednesday afternoon shortly after Biden is sworn in or on Thursday afternoon.”
McConnell on Tuesday publicly accused Trump of inciting the Capitol attack for the first time, saying on the Senate floor: “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
Some progressives responded by calling out the GOP leader for delaying a trial until after Biden’s inauguration—especially given that lawmakers and Trump’s Cabinet faced demands to remove him from office via the impeachment process or the 25th Amendment immediately after the right-wing mob stormed the Capitol.
As Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) put it: “Speeches aren’t enough.”
“Do your job and start the impeachment trial,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in response to McConnell’s remarks. “It’s time to act beyond statements.”
The new survey results and continued pressure on Senate leaders come after a Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week showed that 54% of Americans, including one in eight Republicans, feel that Trump “should be charged with the crime of inciting a riot” for his speech that preceded the storming of the Capitol.
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