It was a day like many across the divided states of America, brimming with anger, resentment and festering grudges.
For just the fourth time in history, the House of Representatives — the people’s house — began formally weighing impeachment of a president and, in El Paso, Texas, Rebecca Reyes was thoroughly pleased.
It was, she suggested Wednesday, about time.
“He’s the worst president we’ve ever had,” said Reyes, 60, a Democratic attorney. “Not only has he abused his power, he’s destroyed the psyche of many Americans.”
In Dubuque, behind the bar of Choppers, manager John LuGrain saw things differently. Impeachment, he suggested, was more of the same old, same old.
“It’s still a witch hunt,” he said, quoting the words of President Donald Trump to disparage his pursuers. “The Democrats just cannot let it go that Trump was elected.”
Impeachment, the first step in ousting a president, is a political sanction — and provocation — like no other. In a country already blazing with animosities, the mere prospect was like adding matches and several buckets of gasoline.
The facts — a Trump phone call seeking “a favor” from Ukraine’s leader, a president reaching overseas to excavate dirt on Democratic rival Joe Biden, foreign aid possibly held up as leverage — were fuzzy to most. Indeed, in dozens of interviews from Winooski, Vt., to Southern California, the Democratic move on Capitol Hill seemed not to change very many minds; opinions were formed a long time ago.
For those opposed to the president, the effort to impeach was a long-awaited and much-belated reckoning.
“I feel like we all knew this is what happened with Russia,” Alex Worthy said of interference that helped cost Democrat Hillary Clinton the 2016 election, “and we couldn’t get the evidence and now have it.”
The 28-year-old Democrat, a Laguna Hills, Calif., attorney, was rooting for impeachment even before the Ukraine scandal broke.
“I’m sure he’s done some good things,” she said of Trump, citing the robust stock market. But she called him a poor “representation of who we are as Americans. His blatant disrespect for people is sad to see.”
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