FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The House voted to impeach President Trump for the second time—a first in American history. All Arkansas Representatives voted against doing so, and several state historians said it’s a difficult period to contextualize.
“There’s really nothing comparable,” said Hoyt Purvis, a former University of Arkansas professor who spent most of his professional career in politics.
Purvis once had an office in the Capitol when he worked for late Senators Robert Byrd and J. William Fulbright. He said that added into his being disturbed by last week’s insurrection.
“Those were very familiar sights to me,” Purvis said. “I never imagined that anything quite so extraordinary could take place.”
Arkansas Reps. voted against impeachment. Purvis said this may have been the most-important moment in their careers.
“Many of them were making the argument that [impeachment] is too much,” Purvis said.
Prof. Patrick Williams is a historian at the University of Arkansas. He said previous contentious moments didn’t amount to the storming of the Capitol.
“I was amongst those outside the Capitol protesting the Vietnam War, and I don’t remember anybody suggesting that, as angry as they were,” Williams said.
Williams said this situation’s more comparable to the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson rather than President Bill Clinton. He said it’ll take some time to truly understand where the past couple weeks stand in terms of American history.
“It’s hard to take measure of it right now,” Williams said.