‘I’m not surprised’: WU students react to Trump’s acquittal

Elizabeth Phelan | Staff Reporter

Following the news that the United States Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump of both Articles of Impeachment, finding him not guilty on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress, members of the Washington University community reacted with mixed feelings.

The close of the historic impeachment trial came just two days after a chaotic Iowa caucus and one day after Trump’s State of the Union address.

College Democrats president junior Arik Wolk said that the results of the impeachment trial were unsurprising, yet still proved disappointing.

“I’m not surprised. It was pretty clear that all the Republican senators were going to vote to acquit him— I think Mitt Romney was the only one who didn’t, which I was surprised by. I thought all Republican senators would,” Wolk said. “I’m pretty disappointed that both Missouri senators voted no, both Hawley and Blunt.”

However, Wolk added that he was satisfied with the action taken by the Democratic Party leadership.

“I’m glad that Pelosi went through impeachment of the House, at least. I think it’s good for historical context that we signify that what he did on the Ukraine call was wrong,” Wolk said.

Sophomore Walter Treat, the president of the College Republicans, wrote in a statement to Student Life that he believes the Senate made the right decision to acquit President Trump.

“I certainly think it’s good that the nation is moving forward now,” Treat wrote. “Impeachment was a bitter, divisive process that drained time and energy best spent on other pursuits. Without clear evidence of major wrongdoing, it is best to leave to the voters the decision of whether to let the President remain in office—so the Senate made the right decision, I would argue.”

Sophomore Luke Ehrenstrom, the president of the University’s chapter of the non-partisan policy think tank Roosevelt Network, believes that the acquittal was not as consequential as it appeared.

“I don’t think it has too much of an impact on our country. I think that there are a lot of problems in our country and a lot of them have existed… for longer than the Trump presidency,” Ehrenstrom said. “I also don’t believe that his removal was ever going to happen, because I think that the path the Republican Party has gone down for decades and the way Congress has operated for decades means you’re never going to impeach a president unless you have 67 senators of one party in the Congress.”

Sophomore Philip Keisler believes that accusations against Trump for threatening to withhold aid to a foreign country in order to solicit information on political opponents is an abuse of power. Keisler also noted that there were more constituents represented by the senators that voted to convict than those who voted to acquit.

“[This is] the exact kind of abuse of power that impeachment was set up to address…The 48 senators who voted to remove Trump represent more Americans than the 52 senators who voted to keep him in office,” Keisler said.

It is uncertain how the acquittal will affect President Trump’s run for re-election.

“We [have] never had a president who’s been impeached during and then has run for re-election, there’s no quick way to see if it will help or hurt him,” Keisler said. “But I think that Democrats did what was right.”

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