When it comes to branding his name, President Trump stands at the top. A business mogul turned president of the United States, Donald Trump brands his name on skyscrapers, luxury hotels, casinos, golf clubs and of course, in constant media (negative) coverages. But the new branding that Donald Trump was awarded on Wednesday – third president to be impeached in the history of the US – should not make him very proud.
However, what could have been devastating for any other president, Donald Trump – as he always does – is exploring to exploit the impeachment saga at his advantage.
Consequently, when the House was impeaching him, President Trump was at a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, ranting – at the expense of the assurance from the majority Republicans at the Senate – that it "does not feel like we are being impeached".
A prototype of populist leadership, Donald Trump is a politician who is obviously proud of his "charisma" – that Al-Jazeera's Marwan Bishara defines as "divisive, disruptive, rude, politically incorrect, an instigator, anti-intellectual, and yes, macho and sexist."
But no matter how arrogant President Trump is, he knows exactly what is at stake ahead after the House impeached him.
President Trump, in consideration of the elements of his politics, may further intensify his confrontational policies supported by the Republican establishment at the Capitol Hill.
In this pursuit, since the beginning of the House investigation against the president, Trump doubled down his Machiavellian approach in confrontation of the House Democrats. The White House obstructed the major witnesses to appear before the House for testimony.
Road to impeachment
"He (Trump) gave us no choice," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after impeaching Trump. In fact, Pelosi did not have a plan to impeach Trump as she resisted many such pushes from the liberal and left leaning democrats.
The situation, however, changed after an anonymous whistleblower surfaced allegations that the US president pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate into an alleged corruption linked to Joe Biden, his political rival and potential presidential candidate of the Democrats in 2020 elections.
As a pressure mechanism for investigation into Joe Biden, Donald Trump withheld security assistance to Ukraine and a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
At the beginning of the House investigation, Donald Trump claimed there was no quid pro quo. For starters, quid pro quo is a Latin phrase used in English to ask for a favour or advantage in return for something. With this claim, he obstructed justice by restraining the key witnesses from testifying in the House.
What is more significant in this story than Trump's obstruction – as it was nothing unexpected from Trump – is that the Republican establishment was also in complicit with Trump that there was no quid pro quo.
But quid pro quo was indeed proven when Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, acknowledged it during his testimony to the House.
Donald Trump has transformed the Republican Party
Privileged with an apparently unconditional support from the Republican establishment, Donald Trump alleged, "The House Democrats are surrendering the majority, their dignity. They look like a bunch of fools."
The Democrats being fool or wise will have their verdict on next November's elections. But it is evident (and Trump will not admit) that if anybody is surrendering to anyone in this impeachment saga, it is the Republican establishment to Donald Trump.
Majority of the Republicans at the Senate have already pledged their loyalty to Trump. Even Republicans like the former Speaker Paul Rayan who criticised Trump in the past seem to have rallied behind the president despite serious allegations of "high crimes and misdemeanours".
When Donald Trump, as an unruly outsider, won the ticket as the Republican presidential nominee for the 2016 elections, many in the Capitol Hill believed the party would domesticate him with time. However, he proved them wrong.
Instead of aligning with the establishment, in the last three years, Donald Trump has transformed it into his very own version of a Republican Party.
After the House impeached Trump, Stephen Collinson of CNN considered this as the first time President Trump faced "consequences for his rule breaking and defiance of restraints" in his "charmed but controversial" life. But the Senate Republicans are not on the same page with Collison on this to investigate as per the House articles.
As per senate rules, senators must take an oath to deliver 'impartial justice' in an impeachment trial, but Senate Majority Leader McConnell has pledged to act "in total coordination with the White House," because he said he is "not an impartial juror".
In the face of such remarks from the Republican establishment, Nancy Pelosi has refused to commit to sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. She said, "That would have been our intention, but we will see what happens over there."
In quest of why the Democrats would refuse to commit to sending the articles to the Senate, CNN's Collison said in his analysis, "Democrats will use the trial next month to jam vulnerable swing state GOPers and accuse them of bailing out a historically corrupt President."
Could Donald Trump take advantage of impeachment?
In consideration of the US president's past tracks that testify – despite his lies, sexual misconducts, preaching of hatred, and the likes, Donald Trump took advantage of post-truth era's distastes for truths, facts and logical deduction. He thrived upon the culture of hatred and fear mongering against the immigrants.
Therefore, a million-dollar question arises– could Donald Trump take advantage of the impeachment saga? This perhaps does not have a straight answer.
The Business Standard approached M Shahiduzzaman, professor of International Relations at the University of Dhaka, for his opinion about this. "Donald Trump cannot exploit the impeachment in his favour. Even if he is spared in the Senate, it will cost him his second term. His second term is finished."
The professor added, "The way Trump survived, despite being exposed as a president who absolutely has no respect for speaking the truth, it exposes the Republican's blind support and racism."
Dr Shantanu Majumder, a professor of Political Science at the University of Dhaka, however, has a different opinion. "This is rather a symbolic effort. Being impeached at the House will not have any immediate impact on Trump."
Majumdar fears that in line with the trends of world as far as populist politics is concerned, such events often result in the rise of popularity for the leader in question.
This is so, because "their supporters seem to believe that the political elites are trying to halt them from all the good jobs they are doing." Consequently, this impeachment "may increase Donald Trump's vote banks," Majumder opined.
Irrespective of all these calculations, President Trump has joined a small club of US presidents who have impeached by the House.
Donald Trump's impeachment is significant from the other impeachments in the past because this happened at a time when he is seeking a second term in the coming elections, whereas the other two presidents faced impeachment when they were already in their second terms.
In the post truth era, leaders like Donald Trump often end up surviving despite the lies and deceits exposed about them.
But the timing of this impeachment – no matter what the Senate does – will give the US voters an opportunity to have their final word in the November elections. As a result, the impeachment of President Donald Trump may mark a breakthrough for the post-truth world.