On Thursday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced a constitutional amendment to raise the threshold for impeachment of a federal official to 60 percent. The U.S. Constitution currently only requires a simple majority.
Speaking to USA Today, Scott explained the rationale for his amendment.
“Our country should never again suffer through the kind of partisan charade that has consumed Washington over the past several months,” he said.
While the amendment is unlikely to pass and is largely symbolic, it demonstrates the backwards logic Republican officials have used to justify Trump’s acquittal.
Contrary to Scott’s complaints, it is partisanship that has prevented Congress from holding a corrupt president accountable.
Republicans in the House and Senate have argued repeatedly that impeachment is unjust at face value because it would prevent a president from seeking reelection.
This argument completely negates the purpose of impeachment outlined in the Constitution. Nowhere in our founding document does it say that “high crimes and misdemeanors” do not count during an election year.
Florida’s senior senator Marco Rubio perfectly highlights the absurdity of this argument. Prior to his acquittal vote, Rubio explained, “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office.”
Rubio essentially argues that so long as a majority of people in the country support a president, any crimes that president commits are null and void.
Despite Rubio implying Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may have met the conditions of impeachment, he knows he can’t cross his party’s figurehead. If either of Florida’s senators voted for impeachment, it would be career suicide.
These strange arguments coming from both of Florida’s senators shows that corrupt officials may never be held accountable in a time of such overt partisanship, and Scott’s amendment will only exacerbate the problem.
If Scott is unwilling to hold the executive branch accountable, he might as well remove the impeachment clause altogether. At least then Republican senators can stop pretending they believe in any form of executive accountability.
Jared Sellick is a senior studying political science.