BY: ISIS AMUSA
President Donald Trump tweeted that a "Civil War like fracture" would ensue in the country following Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry.
According to CNN, Pelosi's Sep. 24 announcement came after a whistleblower within the Trump administration revealed Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, one of his top competitors in the 2020 presidential race.
Pelosi announced that "The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the President's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections," according to CNN.
"This isn't the first time he has threatened violence or tried to divide the country with fear-mongering," Julia Larkin, president of AU College Democrats said in an in-person interview.
The AU College Democrats released a statement on their Facebook page expressing their support for "An impeachment inquiry [that] is long overdue, given the consistent lawless behavior of the president."
In response to the impeachment inquiry and the national discussion, President Trump tweeted quotes from Robert Jeffress, an evangelical pastor and Fox News contributor, on Sep. 29. He claimed that "The Democrats don't care if they burn down and destroy the nation in the process" and, "if the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office, it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this nation from which our country will never heal."
After reading these tweets, Larkin wasn't surprised by his comments but feared the implications they might have.
"I think you can look at various shootings especially in El Paso and Dayton where violence happened and it's not because of impeachment it's because the words and actions of the president have emboldened many people across the country, particularly white nationalists," she said.
Larkin hopes other students can recognize the social impacts of these recent comments.
"AU's kind of desensitized to some of his comments and students don't really understand the severity of it and I think it has to do with the fact that we are a predominantly white campus," she said. "So not many people really discuss or understand the repercussions of how his comments, especially regarding civil war, can affect other members of the student body that don't have the same experiences as them."
To combat this, Larkin and AU College Democrats hope to increase political education on campus and continue their partnership with AU College Republicans to create space for open conversation.
Though AU College Republicans haven't taken an official stance on the president's actions this semester, AU College Republicans President Jordan Bell believes the impeachment inquiry is justified and necessary to get a better understanding of "the whole story."
Additionally, Bell believes the president should recognize how inappropriate "Civil War" rhetoric is.
"I think Adam Kinzinger from Illinois put it pretty well, he called [the comments] â€˜repugnant,'" Bell said in an in-person interview. "The country is so divided the way it is and I think stoking those fires and those tensions does nothing except potentially drive us more towards that. It makes it much more difficult for both sides to work together or at least be on common ground and I really hope that's not what this country is headed towards."
Bell acknowledges the importance of community building between student-run political groups.
"We as students should definitely appreciate that we're in this city at this time with a front-row seat to everything that's going on," Bell said. "I think we all can play our part in helping cultivate community by cutting through the national rhetoric and divisiveness and doing our best even on this small campus to fight for our beliefs and not with each other."
As of now, AU College Democrats are focused on policy-themed months and canvassing for local elections in Virginia and AU College Republicans are focused on bringing speakers to campus and social events.