Our Political Brew analysts this week are Ray Richardson of WLOB Radio, and Ken Altshuler, formerly of the WGAN Morning Show.
MAINE, USA — History was made last week when Donald Trump became the first president to be impeached twice, this time on a charge of incitement of insurrection. But there will be no trial until Joe Biden is sworn in as president and Trump is out of office.
Our analysts think that makes the impeachment a symbolic gesture.
“I think the House and the Senate should be sending a message that Donald Trump’s misbehavior is unacceptable,” says Ken Altshuler. “The problem is, to convict him you need 17 Republicans, and even with the new Senate, that’s not gonna happen. So once again we’re doing an impeachment that’s a hollow victory.”
Altshuler adds, “The only goal is to prevent Trump from running in 2024. But he’s not going to get convicted, so this just riles up his base, which is riled up already.”
“This is what happens when Congress rushes to make a decision without fully considering things,” Richardson says. “If you believe Trump should be admonished in some way they should have censured him, and I think they would’ve gotten Republican support for that.”
Richardson and Altshuler agree that this will be a distraction as Joe Biden tries to get things done in his first 100 days in office.
Both of Maine’s members of Congress voted to impeach Trump. Our analysts don’t believe this will hurt Rep. Jared Golden if he runs for re-election two years from now, even though his district supported Trump in 2016 and 2020.
Richardson says, “Jared has played it really smart.”
And Altshuler thinks no one will remember this in two years.
“It was the right thing to do, it was the smart thing to do, it’s not going to affect him at all.”
Richardson takes Sen. Angus King to task for voicing his support for removing Trump from office, saying, “I think he’s wrong to announce what he’s going to do.”
RELATED: Sen. King backs impeachment effort
He thinks Republican Sen. Susan Collins is correct to withhold her opinion because she has to act as a juror in a senate trial.
Altshuler believes that while Collins voted to acquit Trump last year in his first impeachment, “I think she’s got to vote to impeach” this time, and that she will have company from other moderate Republicans.
At the State House, top Democratic leaders announced their first priority for the session, a “COVID Patients’ Bill of Rights.” It focuses on making sure cost is no barrier to testing or vaccination.
Republican leaders say they were never asked about the bill or even told it was being proposed before it was announced.
Altshuler says he’s disappointed that the Democrats didn’t reach across the aisle to get bipartisan support for the measure because “it could’ve been a symbolic first step of unity.”
Richardson agrees some Republicans would have gone along, but he questions the need for what he calls a “feel good” bill.
“A lot of the stuff is already there, you don’t have to pay for the vaccine.”
Political Brew airs Sundays on The Morning Report.