SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—Just 24 hours after thousands of people rallied around the country in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump, including Watsonville and Santa Cruz, those people got their wish.
On Wednesday Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. The House approved two articles, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, under the umbrella of high crimes and misdemeanors, following a fiery battle of the House floor that fell sharply along party lines.
Bold headlines shouted the news from newspapers around the world.
Trump now joins presidents Nixon and Clinton in the indelible annals of history.
On Tuesday evening close to 200 people lined up along Watsonville’s City Plaza on Main Street, waving signs and chanting slogans. Motorists continually honked for the protestors, some leaning out of their windows to shout words of support.
“He’s done so many things, and has been so disrespectful. It shouldn’t be acceptable for a president. It’s awful, what he has gotten away with,” said Mark Caudill of Watsonville.
Suzan Fine of Moss Landing weighed in with, “We’re in major trouble. [He] could be the destruction of the foundation of this country.”
Early Wednesday 210 people registered through Santa Cruz Indivisible to attend the Watsonville event while 360 people signed up in Santa Cruz. However, as darkness fell and the gathering time of 5:30 p.m. approached, as many as 800 people swarmed the Town Clock in Santa Cruz at the heavily traveled intersection of Pacific Avenue, River, Mission, Front and Water streets toting handmade signs and chanting. Numerous passing drivers blasted their horns, while others waved approving thumbs up.
In Santa Cruz numerous signs reading, Dump Trump, End the Evil Empire, Happy Impeachment Day, and Impeach and Remove flashed about as noisy chants “Ditch Mitch, Dump Trump” and “Hey Ho, Donald Trump has got to go” resonated in the night air.
“I’m out here tonight because I’m an American,” said Wayne Crabbs. “I believe in democracy and this is what democracy looks like.”
Lusijah Darrow said, “I’m here because, like all fellow Americans, we have a civic duty to be aware of democratic values. He’s destroying so many important moves this country has made over the years with our allies regarding the economy and the ecosystem. He’s become a criminal and he’s normalizing that.”
Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel), who represents Watsonville at the national level, voted in favor of impeaching Trump.
“I did not come to Congress to impeach the President,” he said in a press release. “But, I swore an oath to protect our country and defend the constitution. In order to arrive at that solemn and somber conclusion, I used many of the same skills that I acquired early on as a former prosecutor. By putting politics and emotions aside to focus on the underlying evidence and applying those facts to the articles of impeachment, I found it clear that the President subverted our national interest for his own personal and political interest. The President then repeatedly ignored and refused to cooperate with the numerous requests and subpoenas of the investigation by Congress. Moreover, the President proudly admitted this conduct and refuses to acknowledge that he did anything wrong.”
After House passage of the articles of impeachment, the Senate is tasked with handling the impeachment trial. Senators act as the jury, and the chief justice of the United States presides over the proceedings, Panetta said. To remove a president from office, two-thirds of the members must vote in favor. If the Senate fails to convict, a president is considered impeached but is not removed.
The next major move will be when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi submits the two articles of impeachment to the Senate. Pelosi, The New York Times said, wants to understand what the Senate process is before she takes that step, which some say could spill into 2020.