On Wednesday, Feb. 5 — just over two weeks after President Donald Trump's impeachment trial began — the Senate voted to acquit him on both articles of impeachment. The vote went 52-48 to acquit Trump on the abuse of power charge, and went along party lines 53-47 to acquit him on the obstruction of Congress, bringing months of debate and investigations to a close. This news was unsurprising to most social media users, who expected Trump's acquittal ever since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry into the president in September 2019. Nevertheless, these tweets about the Trump impeachment vote show many Americans' frustration with the Senate's GOP majority and their decision to keep the president in office.
All but one senator voted along party lines during the two votes. As promised in a speech ahead of the vote, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney voted to acquit Trump on the obstruction of Congress charge, but broke with his party and voted to remove Trump from office for abuse of power. A two-thirds majority, or 67 votes, was required on at least one of the impeachment charges in order to remove Trump from office, and Senate Democrats simply did not have such numbers on their side in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Despite the unsurprising outcome of Trump's impeachment trial, many people still had a lot of thoughts, opinions, and feelings to share about the result.
The Senate heard closing arguments on Monday, Feb. 3 from both the House's impeachment managers and Trump's legal defense. Trump's lawyers argued that the two articles of impeachment filed against the president "fail to allege impeachable offenses." The House impeachment managers, meanwhile, continued to argue that Trump merited both impeachment and removal from office. According to The New York Times, neither side expected the Senate to vote for Trump's ultimate removal.
Now that Trump has been acquitted on both articles of impeachment, many Americans may be wondering what happens next. In the short term, Trump's authority as president will not be altered or limited in any way, and he will still be able to run for reelection in November. But in the long term, CNN reported, Trump's base could find new motivation in the president's acquittal, and be more inclined to mobilize for him as the 2020 presidential election approaches. Trump's acquittal also sets a potentially dangerous precedent: As CNN pointed out, Trump may walk away from this trial with the impression that he owes little — if anything — to Congress, which could threaten the checks and balances system established between the three branches of government.
House Democrats could restart the process of impeachment from the beginning and try to impeach Trump again. But with the 2020 election approaching, and the costs and effort associated with impeachment proceedings, it is more likely that Democratic lawmakers will now fully focus on nominating a presidential candidate who can unseat Trump in November.