A Political Recap Of The First Half Of February
Political animosity, impeachment trials, updated sentencing memorandum and crazy caucuses was enough to keep the American people on their toes during the first half of Feb. as news and media outlets pinballed between covering the Iowa Caucuses, the State of the Union, the impeachment vote and the Roger Stone sentencing.
On Monday Feb. 3, the Iowa Caucuses experienced technical difficulties that prevented the Democractic National Committee from revealing the caucus results. As of Wednesday Feb. 12, 100% of the results have been published, and the DNC asserts that the results were merely delayed, not inaccurate. Though Pete Buttigieg beat Bernie Sanders by 0.1% in Iowa, Sanders won the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11.
Political partisanship has become today’s norm, but party tensions reached unprecedented levels Tuesday Feb. 4 at the State of the Union address. President Donald J. Trump refused to shake Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s extended hand, and Pelosi ripped her copy of Trump’s speech in half following his remarks.
“It was a manifesto of mistruths,” said Pelosi in a statement to the Associated Press. Pelosi went on to say that tearing the speech in half was “the courteous thing to do considering the alternative.”
Pelosi’s actions were lauded by many, but they were met with equal disapproval.
“This speech was about American heroes and American workers,” tweeted Republican Rep. Steve Scalise on Feb. 4. “She decided THAT was worth literally tearing apart.”
Though Pelosi and Trump’s tension made headlines across the country, it took only a day for reporters to forget the House Speaker and President’s conflict after the Senate voted to acquit Trump of both impeachment charges (obstruction of Congress and abuse of power) on Feb. 5. The aquittal came after the Senate voted not to hear or review any additional witnesses or evidence. Trump’s acquittal marks the end of the third impeachment trial in America’s history.
Votes for the acquittal almost perfectly aligned with party association with the exception of Sen. Mitt Romney. Romney, a Republican, was the only Senator to cross party lines and vote to convict Trump on the charge of abuse of power. Romney expressed that his religious and moral beliefs guided his decision, but that didn’t stop Trump from attacking the Senator in a tweet on Feb. 5.
“Mitt Romney is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS,” Trump tweeted. “He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now. He’s now officially a member of the resistance & should be expelled from the @GOP.”
Media conglomerates across the country broke the news of the acquittal, but headlines changed once again on Thursday Feb. 6 after Trump delivered a venomous speech regarding the impeachment proceedings and results. Trump attacked Pelosi, Adam Schiff and the DNC collectively during his remarks.
“They’re vicious and mean. Vicious. These people are vicious,” said Trump of the Democratic party. “Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person. They’re lousy politicians.”
Trump also took to Twitter back in Nov. 2019 to express his disapproval of political consultant Roger Stone’s conviction on the counts of obstruction of proceeding, false statements and witness tampering for his actions during the 2016 investigations into Russian election interference.
“So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come,” tweeted Trump on Nov. 15, 2019. “Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff?”
Months later, the entire team of prosecutors working to convict and sentence Stone withdrew from the case on Feb. 11, mere days before Stone’s sentencing on Feb. 20. The prosecutors’ withdrawal comes in wake of the Department of Justice’s updated sentencing memorandum that claimed the prosecutors’ recommended sentence of seven to nine years “would not be appropriate or serve the interests of justice in this case.”
According to ABC news, a senior Justice Department official said on Feb. 11 that “it does” appear that the prosecutors’ withdrawals were acts of protest against the department’s reversal and updated sentencing memorandum. On Feb. 20, Stone was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.
2020 has only just begun, but the country has already witnessed history in the making between Trump’s acquittal, Pelosi tearing up Trump’s speech, this year’s unprecedented Iowa Caucuses and Stone’s sentencing to 40 months in prison.