Impeachment as Seen Through the Eyes of Students at La Salle

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Impeachment as Seen Through the Eyes of Students at La Salle

Today, Feb. 5, 2020, the Senate voted to acquit President Trump of both articles of impeachment.

Today, Feb. 5, 2020, the Senate voted to acquit President Trump of both articles of impeachment.

Reilly Smith

Today, Feb. 5, 2020, the Senate voted to acquit President Trump of both articles of impeachment.

Reilly Smith

Reilly Smith

Today, Feb. 5, 2020, the Senate voted to acquit President Trump of both articles of impeachment.

Maddie Khaw, Editor in Chief

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Tensions between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been growing since September — and never have those tensions been better represented than at Trump’s State of the Union address last night, where Pelosi shredded the paper copy of his speech, which he had previously handed to her just seconds before declining to shake her outstretched hand.

In December, Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, led by Pelosi herself; the case then moved to a Senate trial, where the Republican-dominated Senate voted today to acquit Mr. Trump — meaning he will not be removed from office.

Last week, the Senate rejected the measure to call witnesses to testify, making this the first U.S. Senate impeachment trial without witnesses in U.S. history. 

Though most students at La Salle are under 18 years old, and thus are not yet voters, the happenings in Washington can affect people of all different ages, ethnicities, genders, religious beliefs, and political alignments throughout every corner of the country. 

So what does the La Salle student body think of the impeachment? Do non-voters within our community give their attention to news and politics, along with their other everyday concerns like homework, sports, and extracurriculars? To what extent do students know and care about the impeachment? 

The Falconer asked a range of students about the subject. Some students interviewed were selected randomly, while others were suggested by their peers. 

Here are the details of Trump’s impeachment, and what it means for us, as told from the perspectives of students of La Salle.


What has happened so far with the impeachment? What is Trump impeached for?

“He’s getting impeached?”

-junior William Griffiths

(Yes.)

 

“I honestly don’t know a whole lot. I don’t know as much as I want to know.”

-senior Ann Marie Bottita

 

“I heard bits and pieces, but I never got the full story, and it’s just what I’ve heard of other people’s conversations and when I’ve tuned in.”

-junior Sophia Breihof

 

“Impeachment is a formal accusation that the House votes on on the president when they’ve done high crimes or misdemeanors.”

-junior Nick Slugg

 

“Basically, the impeachment is the prosecution, and then the Senate is basically the judge and the jury and such like that.”

-junior Sawyer Paugh

 

“I think the process is just overly excessive and it doesn’t really work in making two parties agree.”

-senior Austin McCulley

 

“As much as I’ve learned, they are claiming that Trump used his office to get information on a political candidate, and he obstructed people from trying to figure stuff out during the investigation.” 

-senior Sabrina Scherzinger

 

“He’s been impeached by the House on two articles: Obstruction of Congress and Abuse of Power.”

-senior Owen Tunstill

 

“He was in cahoots with Putin, right? Something like that?”

-senior Danny Finkle

(In fact, he was accused based on his dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.)

 

“He withheld funding from a country who really needed our military aid until they did what he wanted, pretty much.”

-junior Stella Mack

 

“The abuse of power claim comes from the leveraging, or the alleged leveraging, of $400 million of foreign aid to Ukraine in return for the campaign investigation of Joe Biden.”

-senior Liam Rinehart

 

“Pretty much we have a completely divided system, and so the arguments don’t seem to matter because people are voting completely along party lines.”

-junior Ben Scott-Lewis

 

“The way I see it is everybody’s already kind of made up their mind at this point. Everybody knows that he’s not going to get removed from office, and it’s really just a waste of time.”

-sophomore Santiago Nolasco (he said this before the Senate voted.)

 

“I feel like this is all just kind of like, I don’t know. A show.”

-senior Amira Tripp-Folsom


What will probably happen as a result of the Senate trial and Trump’s acquittal? How will it affect the 2020 presidential election, and what is most likely to happen this year leading up to and within the election?

“I think they made the wrong choice… He definitely abused his power as a president.”

-junior Zach Williams

 

“I mean, this is just as expected. I didn’t really see anything changing when it comes to this kind of thing. Obviously, it’d be better if we did see a change, but this is basically what I expected.”

-junior Alec Willard-Herr

 

“Totally saw it coming. Still disappointed, though.”

-senior Luke Wild

 

“To an extent [the trial] might even strengthen the partisan hatred, which is too bad.”

-junior Ben Scott-Lewis

 

“After the impeachment happened, Trump’s approval rating went up, and so did his polling numbers… It also, at the same time, put a bad name on the Democrats because it kind of made them this ultimate partisan party where they ultimately got nothing done — while Trump has been, on one hand, distracting them with impeachment, and then on the other hand, he’s been passing policy changes with relation to immigration and border security. And no one’s really talking about that because the focus has been on impeachment.”

-junior Sawyer Paugh

 

“I don’t see him getting reelected.”

-senior Abby Baines

 

“Unfortunately I think [the chances] are pretty good of him winning again.”

-senior Luke Wild

 

“I have a hunch [that] Trump is going to get reelected. I’m not sure why I have that hunch, but I definitely think he has a great chance of winning.”

-senior Grace Elkhal

 

“My prediction is that he won’t win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did win, either.”

-senior Owen Tunstill

 

“I really don’t think he’ll win. And if he does, I’m going to be really surprised.”

-senior Cassie Hauck

 

“I don’t think he would win the next election, because a lot of kids my age who are newly 18 and 19 are going to have a lot of impact in this election. I think people are getting a lot more educated and starting to care about who our leaders are.”

-senior Hattie Kirby

 

“If Democrats really want to win the whole thing, they need to be a unified front, because it’s much harder to garner support if we’re arguing within ourselves, versus Republicans [who] already have that unified front.”

-senior Amira Tripp-Folsom

 

“The question for the Democrats right now seems to be not who is our best choice, but who is our most electable choice.”

-senior Liam Rinehart

 

“It seems like so many people are concerned about beating Trump that it’s more about beating him than electing who they want as president.”

-junior Xavier Santiago 

 

“If you’re just voting along the lines of who’s going to beat this opponent, once that actual election takes place, then you have to take into account: okay, what’s next? How are you going to continue?”

-junior Nick Slugg


Should Trump have been removed from office? Should he win another term?

“Politics is one of those things where I just don’t care. I believe that whoever’s in office is there for a reason, so I’m gonna respect them… I just hope we have another four years of a good, strong economy, and whatever happens, happens.”

-senior Dominic Serio

 

“I want what’s right to happen. I don’t really know what that is at this point.”

-senior Ann Marie Bottita

 

“In my ideal world, Donald Trump would be removed from office.”

-sophomore Santiago Nolasco

 

“I do think [the impeachment proceedings] have been unfairly conducted thus far… I think there’s definitely enough [evidence] to remove [Trump from office].”

-senior Liam Rinehart (he said this before the Senate voted.) 

 

“I think what he did was wrong and it’s worthy of being removed from office… but I also think that in comparison to what other presidents have done in just kind of stepping over the rules or just having those under-the-rug kind of things occur, I don’t think that he is going to be removed.”

-senior Grace Elkhal (she said this before the Senate voted.)

 

“I would say that the accusations against Trump are not entirely accurate… The abuse of power [claim], I think that there’s a lot of iffy information. I feel like a lot of people haven’t actually read the transcript.”

-junior Sawyer Paugh

 

“I don’t think he will be taken out of office. I also don’t think it would be a good thing because it would just make more chaos in America.”

-senior Danny Finkle (he said this before the Senate voted.)

 

“The next election is in a couple months, so I don’t really see why it’s necessary [to try to remove him from office].”

-senior Annie Hoang (she said this before the Senate voted.)

 

“I feel like we need someone really, really good to clean up after Trump. And I feel like there’s just no one out there right now that’s good enough to do that.”

-sophomore Jack Sharp

 

“People don’t like change at all. So they stick with the person they know, despite how bad they are.”

-junior Zach Williams

 

“I think Trump should win because I like his way of leadership and aggression that he has. He wants to get things done and not let them sit around and grow harder and harder to deal with.”

-senior Ryan Bjorvik

 

“I’d favor all of [the Democratic candidates] over Trump.”

-senior Luke Wild

 

“I hope we get a good president. You know?”

-junior William Griffiths


How has Trump’s presidency been so far?

“I think the economy is doing well. I mean, minority unemployment is down. The labor force is doing great right now, and wages are going up, naturally… I think that everyone is faring better because of his economic policies and how he’s doing as a president.”

-junior Sawyer Paugh

 

“I know a lot of people don’t like Trump, but in terms of what he’s done for the American people, the economy is at a high. And really, when you look at how much he allowed the nation to progress, I feel he has been successful. I think that he’s very blunt, I also think that he’s not politically polite — he says a lot of things without thinking before he says it.”

-senior Grace Elkhal

 

“[The economy] is just the continuation of Obama’s numbers, and actually, they’ve decreased from the slope that they should be on, and so it really hasn’t improved.”

-junior Stella Mack

 

“Overall I would say it’s definitely the most politically damaging administration in my lifetime… You have the stock market at record highs, but you have all time wealth inequality at record highs as well, so what does that say? I mean, there’s people who have benefited from a Trump economy, but there are not average people who benefit from that.”

-senior Liam Rinehart

 

“He is a businessman. He’s an economic president. I think we’re in one of the greatest economic times since, I don’t know, Bill Clinton.”

-junior Sawyer Paugh

 

“I think he’s done a lot of things that have cost the United States a lot of money, and I think that’ll increase taxes and maybe inflation, and that’s not really something we want.”

-sophomore Gabe Handley

 

“I think economically he did decent. But socially, it was all really bad with sexism, racism, his accusations of everything.”

-senior Matea Skoro

 

“It seems like Trump’s presidency has been a big deviation, just in the way that we conduct day-to-day political matters.”

-senior Liam Rinehart 

 

“I’m not very proud to be American with him in office.”

-senior Hattie Kirby

 

“It’s kind of like every week, there’s a new thing that Trump’s done that some people like, [and] some people don’t… I’m not very impressed with what he’s been doing so far.”

-senior Mollie Kuffner

 

“The worst thing was when he left the Paris Climate Accord… I don’t understand, why do people not give a crap about the environment?”

-senior Abby Baines

 

“I like him as a president, but I do believe that he sometimes takes things to the next level and is immature about some things. Obviously there are better candidates for president but I do agree with the way he handles things most of the times.”

-senior Ryan Bjorvik

 

“I think [Trump’s presidency] has been slimy… A lot of people justify the growth in the economy, but a lot of people don’t know that he cut aid to stuff that a lot of average people don’t see every day, like disabled homing and stuff like that.”

-senior Luke Wild

 

“It’s just been wild. It’s so hard to keep up with everything.”

-senior Dominic Serio

 

“One of his big things he wanted to do was put Hillary in jail. That didn’t happen. The wall didn’t happen. He said he wanted to eliminate the national debt, and yet our debt is rising every year in his office. So pretty much everything he’s really said that he wanted to do [has] yet to really [get] done. He did get tax cuts passed; he still hasn’t repealed Obamacare. So I’d say it’s kind of ineffective at this point.”

-senior Owen Tunstill

 

“People who voted for Trump probably voted for him because he promised change — to make America great again. Now that they’ve seen that not much change has happened, I think they’ll look for a different person, because Trump didn’t really do well in the presidency.”

-sophomore Gabriel El Youssef

 

“Trump creates scandals. And then he does all this really sneaky stuff, but he’s like, ‘look at me!… I’m on Twitter! I’m doing all this stuff, I’m calling this person trash, and I’m being racist to this person,’ but while his actual administration is going through and dismantling a bunch of the stuff that the Obama Administration worked really hard to set up.”

-senior Amira Tripp-Folsom

 

“There’s definitely been a lot of issues that have happened. But there’s also been a lot of good things — I think that’ll happen in any presidency, it just depends on what you think is the most valuable thing.”

-senior Ann Marie Bottita

Correction: February 7, 2020

An earlier version of this story misstated sophomore Santiago Nolasco as a senior.