By Marco Rubio
Voting to find the President guilty would not just be a condemnation of his action. If I vote guilty, I will be voting to remove a President from office for the first time in the 243-year history of our Republic.
When they decided to include impeachment in the Constitution, the Framers understood how disruptive and traumatic it would be. As Alexander Hamilton warned, impeachment will “agitate the passions of the whole community.”
This is why they decided to require the support of two thirds of the Senate to remove a President — we serve as a guardrail against partisan impeachment and against removal of a President without broad public support.
Leaders in both parties previously recognized that impeachment must be bipartisan and must enjoy broad public support. In fact, as recently as March of last year, Manager Adam Schiff (D-CA) said there would be “little to be gained by putting the country through” the “wrenching experience” of a partisan impeachment.
And yet, only a few months later, a partisan impeachment is exactly what the House produced.
This meant two Articles of Impeachment whose true purpose was not to protect the nation but rather to, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, stain the President’s record because “he has been impeached forever” and “they can never erase that.”
It now falls upon this Senate to take up what the House produced and faithfully execute our duties under the Constitution of the United States.
Why does impeachment exist?
As Manager Jerry Nadler (D-NY) reminded us Wednesday night, removal is not a punishment for a crime. Nor is removal supposed to be a way to hold Presidents accountable; that is what elections are for.
The sole purpose of this extraordinary power to remove the one person entrusted with all of the powers of an entire branch of government is to provide a last-resort remedy to protect the country. That is why Hamilton wrote that in these trials our decisions should be pursuing “the public good.”
That is why six weeks ago I announced that, for me, the question would not just be whether the President’s actions were wrong, but…