Former US President Donald Trump and the Grand Old Party (GOP) are at a crossroads after he was acquitted in his second impeachment.
The impeachment came as a result of the January 6 riot in which dozens of Trump supporters entered the US Capitol Building, threatened lawmakers and broke windows, the Xinhua news agency reported.
One police officer was killed by a mob and one US military veteran was shot dead by police during the riot. Democrats accused Trump of causing the riot, when he gave a speech and told protesters to march to the Capitol Building.
The Senate acquitted Trump on charges of inciting an insurrection, with some lawmakers in Trump’s own party voting against him. The Senate voted 57-43 to convict, but the vote fell short of the required two-thirds.
This was the first time in US history that a President was impeached twice, once while in office and again after Trump left the White House.
It remains unknown what impact the impeachment will have on the Republic Party and Trump’s ability to run for President in 2024.
Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, said that the second impeachment deepened the fissures in the GOP.
GOP committees in the states of North Carolina and Louisiana censured two of their own senators for voting against Trump during the impeachment.
Trump put out a statement on Tuesday attacking Senate minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, arguing that if “Republican senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
The impeachment does not appear to have hurt Trump with his base, which remains loyal to him as a result of sharp divisions that reflect the persistent partisan fissures within the country, experts said.
“In the short term it doesn’t appear to have hurt him much with Republican rank-and-file voters yet,” Galdieri said.
Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the centre for international and security studies at the University of Maryland, said that perhaps the most important impact of the impeachment is to “create a clear divide in Congress between those who will stay loyal to Trump, and the other Republicans.”
What this really means is that Congress essentially now has a three-party system, Ramsay said, there is Trump’s own party, a small conservative grouping, and the Democratic Party.
Trump’s acquittal does not turn the page yet on the riot at the Capitol on January 6.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that lawmakers would establish a commission to investigate the causes of the Capitol riot.
In a letter to fellow Democrats, Pelosi said the commission would be modeled on the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.