Calling impeachment a "coup" hurts America

The Constitution matters. So does the English language. To conserve the integrity of both––a project avowedly conservative writers ought to care about––requires choosing words with more intellectual honesty and care than Hanson shows. Alas, he is not an outlier among Trumpists. Even the House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has called the impeachment inquiry “a calculated coup.”

Ramesh Ponnuru responded at National Review as a constitutional conservative should. “This is the same rhetoric that Democrats used during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton,” he wrote. “It is no more apt now. The Constitution lays out a way for presidents to be removed from office by Congress, just as it lays out a way that presidents can take office without a popular majority or even plurality.” That constitutional procedure, he continued, “cannot successfully be invoked without the support of a supermajority of the public larger than what is necessary to elect a president in the first place.”

If efforts to oust Trump ever trigger political violence by people who don’t understand the constitutional legitimacy of impeachment and removal, blame for the bloodshed will reside in part with Hanson, McCarthy, and all the other pro-Trump commentators who cast a tool the Framers gave us as illegitimate.