Former US President Donald Trump was acquitted by the US Senate on Saturday and charged with “inciting insurrection”.
Historians will long debate the ramifications of the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill and the bizarre lawsuit that followed American democracy. In the short and medium term, this acquittal opens up prospects for the former Republican president.
From the start he said, “I will have much to share with you in the months ahead and I look forward to continuing our incredible adventure for the greatness of America.”
“Our great, historical and patriotic Make America Great Again movement is just beginning,” he added.
January 6th remains a handicap
But the equation that worked during his four year tenure has gotten more complicated since the dark day of January 6 and the violence perpetrated by his followers.
Many Republican officials have distanced themselves, which is a major handicap in the face of a possible retake, even if his ability to galvanize the masses remains a major asset.
Without an elected mandate stripped of his Twitter account and withdrawn at his Mar-a-Lago golf club, more than 1,300 miles from Washington, he could also find it difficult to be heard.
Especially since the next presidency of 2024 is already whetting the appetite.
“He’s taken a path that he shouldn’t have taken”
One of the possible candidates for the Republican nomination, Nikki Haley, has already cut ties and felt sidelined for the upcoming deadlines.
“He went a path that he shouldn’t have gone, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we must never let him begin again.”
Republican Party, the big building site
After standing behind Donald Trump for four years, sometimes reluctantly but always obediently, the Grand Old Party is in a phase of immense upheaval.
A handful of elected officials are shouting loudly that Donald Trump’s place cannot be questioned and that he is the natural candidate for 2024. “This party belongs to him. It does not belong to anyone else,” started a few days ago Republican elected Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has time to support the theses of the right-wing extremist conspiracy movement QAnon.
But many party leaders want a fresh start. Given his polls, which remain flattering on Trump, they wonder how to turn the page: Brutal? Slowly? Imperceptibly?
Beyond the January 6 trauma, the party blames them for the loss of the Senate: their refusal to accept their defeat for more than two months left the “GOP” during the two inaugural January partial senators won by , placed the Democrats in a shaky position.
One point of concern remains for party strategists: Trump’s support during his impeachment trial, guided by a desire not to upset the ex-president, could result in electoral costs.
“Senators who voted for acquittal may have protected themselves from dangerous primaries in the face of more extreme candidates in their party, but they also made themselves more vulnerable in real elections,” said Wendy Schiller of Brown University.