Impeaching Donald Trump could help Republican Party 'cleanse itself', says David Frum
'This is an institution that needs to be salvaged,' conservative commentator says
As calls to remove U.S. President Donald Trump from office grow, conservative commentator David Frum said Republican support for his impeachment could set the party on a new path.
"Donald Trump has led the Republican Party into a bad place, but this is an institution that needs to be salvaged," Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic and author of Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy, said Sunday on Cross Country Checkup.
"An impeachment vote that involves Republicans is a chance for the party to cleanse itself and redeem itself and prepare for the future."
Frum, who was a speech writer for former president George W. Bush, has long been a critic of Trump. On Wednesday, following a siege on the U.S. Capitol by the president's supporters, Frum penned an essay for The Atlantic calling for Trump's removal from office.
In a letter to her colleagues on Sunday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that if Vice-President Mike Pence and Trump's cabinet do not invoke the 25th Amendment to force Trump out of the White House, the House of Representatives will begin impeachment proceedings.
If successful, Trump would become the first U.S. president to be impeached twice.
Although president-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, impeaching Trump could be the first step to barring him from holding federal public office in the future.
"It would also give a way for Republicans to put themselves on record, separating themselves from this president, saying 'we're ready for the future,'" said Frum.
Frum shared his thoughts on Trump, the U.S. Capitol siege and the Republican Party's future as part of Checkup's regular Ask Me Anything series, answering questions from the show's listeners.
On Trump's social media ban
When it comes to the president's communications following Wednesday's events, Frum said that losing access to his Twitter account meant that it will be "harder for him to act alone."
"The president, of course — and Donald Trump as president until January the 20th, unless he is removed — has many ways of reaching the public," Frum said. "But like those videos, like those statements we've seen, they all passed through other people."
Twitter announced Friday that Trump would be permanently suspended from the platform, citing concerns over "the risk of further incitement of violence." Facebook has also suspended the president's account "indefinitely," and several other platforms have followed suit.
"I've often thought that one of the terrible mistakes that was made in this presidency was that early on Twitter, should have said to Donald Trump, 'Look, we have a POTUS account that was used by President Obama before you and it's yours,'" Frum said.
Tweeting from the designated U.S. president account would have subjected Trump to the Presidential Records Act, which Frum said would have put more scrutiny on his public statements.
Instead, Frum said that by using a personal account, Trump was given the power to speak as an individual while holding the privileges granted to presidents — including immunity from defamation lawsuits.
'His standing is going to drop'
In the wake of the events at the U.S. Capitol, Frum said it remains to be seen how much influence Trump still has over the Republican Party.
"As people absorb the magnitude of what happened and his responsibility for it, I think his standing is going to drop," Frum told Checkup host Ian Hanomansing.
The question for the future, Frum added, is "will the future of the Republican Party especially belong to those who stood with him or stood against him?"
"That is a fight that is of huge consequence, not just for Republicans, but for everybody," he said.
With power typically split between Democrats and Republicans, U.S. politics relies on negotiation and compromise.
"You have to do business, and that means you need to have reasonable people on both sides strongly advocating their point of view, but willing to make a deal," Frum said.
"If you have insurrectionists, no deal."
Written by Jason Vermes