Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Impeachment Trial Requires Bipartisanship, Panelists Say

Bipartisan cooperation within the U.S. government and communication between citizens with varied perspectives is essential for the future of the nation as President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial continues, panelists said at a Jan. 29 event.

The event comes months after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Sept. 24. Since then, the House has introduced and voted on two articles of impeachment. On Jan. 16, the House formally presented the articles of impeachment to the Senate, initiating the official impeachment trial.

The event, titled “A Conversation on Impeachment,” was hosted by the Institute of Politics and Public Service and moderated by Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief at Buzzfeed News Kate Nocera. The panel featured Former Chief of Staff for Speaker Pelosi Nadeam Elshami and Former Staff Director for the Senate Repulican Communications Center, which is a critical operation for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Antonia Ferrier.

MADIHA SOHANI FOR THE HOYA | Panelists, from left, moderator Kate Norcera, Nadeam Elshami, and Antonia Ferrier discussed the importance of bipartisanship in today’s political climate.

Given heightened political polarization within Congress and the U.S during the impeachment trial, young people should contribute their perspectives to the political arena, Elshami said during the panel.

“Civil service, politics, is a noble profession,” Elshami said. “So for those of you who are here or interested and may one day want to do this, we need you. We need a new fresh, thinking, generation, whether you’re right, left or an independent, it doesn’t matter.”

As of Jan. 29, ten days after the House voted to impeach Trump, 84.1% of polled Democrats support impeachment proceedings, whereas only 9.4% percent of Republicans express support, according to data collected by FiveThirtyEight. Despite the large percentage of Democrats in favor of impeachment, an acquittal of Trump would be the best way to ensure a functioning government and democracy, according to Ferrier.

“I have some real concerns about this from a real institutional perspective,” Ferrier said. “I’m probably going to say something that will upset people, I actually think the best thing for this country is to have this end and end by meaning acquitted. Let’s go to the polls. Let’s let the democracy continue forward.”

Both Elshami and Ferrier are former GU Politics Fellows and moderator Nocera is a current fellow. The GU Politics Fellows Program began in fall 2015 and has brought five distinguished figures from the fields of politics, government and media to campus every semester to connect with students.

Given the historic significance of the impeachment trial, GU Politics organized the event to foster a dialogue in which students could better understand the political landscape Congress faces, according to according to Chief of Staff for GU Politics Carly Henry (MBA ’19).

“As part of our effort to convene bipartisan dialogue, we wanted students to hear from people on both sides of the aisle who understand the dynamics at play in this historic time,” Henry wrote in an email to The Hoya.

While Ferrier and Elshami may have worked for politicians on different sides of the aisle, they both agreed on the trivial nature of today’s political media coverage, which often sends mixed messages to the public.

“Now, there’s always been an element of that in a two-party system and you can see the sort of slide over time with mass media, so I’m a bit of two minds. It was definitely worse in real ways before, but there’s a pettiness to it now that is just exhausting,” Ferrier said.

For Nocera, in working as a political journalist and serving as moderator, today’s political divides, while not surprising, have taken a new level, she said in an interview with The Hoya.

“As they said, there’s always going to be a political divide between Democrats and Republicans, they’re motivated by very different things,” Nocera said. “They fundamentally disagree on a lot of things. I think that people are really tired of the sniping and just general exhaustion over ‘my team’s right’ and ‘your team’s wrong.’”

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