Well, now he's done it. Florida man and President Donald J. Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Trump, 73, lives part-time at 1100 S. Ocean Blvd. in Palm Beach, where his ongoing trial has been the talk of his neighbors. He is, after all, only the third president to receive such a footnote.Since September, Mar-a-Lago has been the primary residence for Donald and Melania Trump. Florida just happens to be a haven for those looking to avoid inheritance and state income taxes. The Trumps have other, less official, residences in Beverly Hills and Seven Springs, as well as a Trump Tower penthouse in New York and the White House in Washington, D.C.
While it's always exciting to see a Floridian in the news, the articles charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress are a sobering reminder that our state is known for both political corruption and for rich guys getting off the hook.
Rather than facing the music for profiting from his presidency, or for soliciting foreign interference in a U.S. election, or for violating campaign finance laws, the Queens-born Trump took the hit for threatening to withhold aid from Ukraine unless its prime minister investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. The second charge was for obstructing Congress' investigation into the Ukraine case.
Congress also opted not to pursue articles against Trump for pressuring then-FBI director James Comey to drop an investigation into National Security Advisor Michael Flynn – and firing him when he refused – or for again attempting to stop the investigation by unsuccessfully trying to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, or for intimidating witnesses in public and dangling pardons to influence testimony.
Impeachment leaders in the House wanted to proceed with the broader charge of "abuse of power," rather than actual criminal charges like bribery or extortion, which could have complicated the impeachment debate. In Congress, just as in Florida, it's relatively easier to get indicted than it is to be convicted. The Senate will now decide Trump's fate, and it will almost certainly do so along party lines.
Of course, we know how this will go. Trump's going to get away with it. It would take 20 Republican senators voting to convict Trump to reach the 67-vote super-majority needed for removal. That isn't happening, to say nothing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's open resistance to conducting an impartial trial.
Not only will the 45th president have "betrayed the nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections," he will be acquitted of his charges in January, in time to ride the momentum of perceived untouchability going into the November election.
Bill Clinton, known as "the Comeback Kid" among other nicknames, saw his approval rating reach 73 percent, the highest of his presidency, in the months following his October 1998 impeachment.
Trump will get a pass, and a sizable boost in his bid for reelection.
Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.