On Sept. 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, initiated an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
On the same day the impeachment inquiry was announced by Pelosi, Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, released a statement in support of the impeachment.
“It has become clear that our president has placed his personal interests above the national security of our nation,” Delgado said in a press release. “The President has admitted to soliciting the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival. In doing so, the President used the power of the presidency to pressure a foreign government to help him win an election. This, by itself, is an impeachable offense.”
According to The New York Times, Trump is being charged with “betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain.” According to a whistleblower’s complaint, on July 25 Trump had a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, urging him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
The transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky was declassified on Sept. 24 by order of the President.
“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” Trump said in the phone call. “I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it…The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.”
According to the U.S. constitution, the President may be removed from office on impeachment “conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives has sole power of impeachment, meaning they interpret what is an “impeachable offense.”
The Senate has the sole power to try impeachments and judgement in cases when impeachment do not extend further from the removal of office. No one up for an impeachment trial can be convicted by the Senate without the “concurrence of two thirds of the members present.”
According to a Reuters poll released on Sept. 30, national support for impeaching Trump has raised to 45% with 74% of Democrats, 13% of Republicans and 37% on independents all in favor of the impeachment.
Delgado’s statement in support of the impeachment of Trump has created a divide in New Paltz.
New Paltz resident Alexander Di Turo does not agree with impeaching Trump because he believes that the impeachment is “a political stunt” and has potential to improve Trump’s ratings.
“Historically speaking, impeachment has almost always favored the official being impeached,” Di Turo said. “I believe this will backfire on the democratic party. It will reinvigorate and grow Trump’s base. In 1999, Bill Clinton’s favorable ratings actually rose after the impeachment trial. That was his second term, not his first.”
However, fourth-year history major, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality studies minor and President of Take Back the Night, Tara Manning, agrees with Delgado because Trump “has clearly gone around the legal proceedings and deserves retribution.”
Manning also believes Trump’s actions such as “the creation of concentration camps, blatant racism and sexism that defines his rhetoric and the travel bans against Muslim citizens and immigrants” are worse than his statements in the phone call with Zelensky.
Isabelle Steed, a fourth-year political science major, believes that the upcoming 2020 election may have an impact on Delgado’s support for the impeachment.
“When someone commits a crime, there must be an investigation and repercussions to follow,” Steed said. “I think it’s important to look at Delgado’s stance on impeachment since it is an election year in 2020. Has Delgado changed his view because his constituents took a different stance?”