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A gavel rests on a desk. 

The past election was undoubtedly an intense one. Whatever side you are on, we can all agree that things reached an escalation that no one expected. The latest in this saga: Trump got acquitted. For those who may not know or don’t remember, Donald Trump got impeached for the second time during his presidential term, a first in United States history. The reason for this second impeachment was due to the handling of the attack at Capitol Hill. Many senators, both Republican and Democrat, all held Trump responsible and blatantly called him out for seeming to egg on the rioters. But somehow, Trump still got acquitted and it’s slowly becoming clear how.

To understand just what led to Trump being acquitted, you need to have a brief understanding of how the impeachment of a president works. First, the House of Representatives must bring a charge against the president, ranging from misdemeanors to treason, where these charges are voted upon as being valid or not. If there are enough votes from the House, the charges are then brought to the Senate. From there, a bill is written before it is brought to trial. If, after the trial, two-thirds of the Senate find the president or convicted party guilty, they are removed from office. 

While this is only a very basic description of the impeachment process, the part that is most important in regard to Trump’s impeachment is what happened at the end of the trial. 57 senators voted Trump as guilty, 7 of which were Republican Representatives. The remaining 43 voted not guilty. To impeach Trump, the Senate just needed 10 more votes for the verdict to pass. It’s disappointing but not surprising to see those who voted not guilty stand with Trump even after the incident at Capitol Hill. However, it’s an entirely different situation when one of those who voted not guilty announces they hold Trump accountable after the trial is over.

After the acquittal, Mitch McConnell took it upon himself to say that he believes that the attack on Capitol Hill isTrump’s responsibility - even though he just voted Trump as not guilty. This hypocrisy has been called out from both sides, with some saying if McConnell had voted guilty, he could have turned the tables of the trial, while others, such as Trump himself, rip into McConnell for “never doing what needs to be done.”

The biggest issue with this trial, and with this swapping of sides on McConnell’s part, isn’t about whether you view Trump as guilty or not. We all have our own opinions. The issue, then, comes to the handling of justice within a political sense. Voting against what you believe is right just so you can get ahead in your own career speaks volumes about how your morals (or lack thereof), as well as how well you stand against those opposing you. If you preach one thing but clearly do the opposite, that doesn’t give the American people much hope. And with this type of behavior being shown in something like an impeachment trial, it is worrying to wonder about what could happen in the future if those with hypocritical tendencies are able to continue. 

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