In the hours before the votes to impeach President Trump tonight, the atmosphere at the Trump International Hotel in Washington was nearly, but not quite, joyous. Two of the four televisions hanging above the lobby lounge bar were tuned to ESPN, with another tuned to Fox News and the last to CNN.
Few of the guests, if any, were paying much attention to the ongoing debate on the floor of the House of Representatives.
One of those at the bar was Heather Zabel, a 35-year-old nursing student in Virginia who considers herself a big fan of Trump’s.
“Big deal,” Zabel said, gesturing at the TV showing lawmakers arguing about impeaching Trump. “This is only making Republicans angry. And we’re going to vote for him again.”
The general consensus around the bar from Trump supporters echoed the Republican talking-points: that Democrats were pushing impeachment because they couldn’t stand seeing him in the White House. The “Russia collusion” gambit failed, and Ukraine was just the next effort to undo the 2016 election.
After the House passed the second impeachment count, Zabel’s face had fallen. Everything had happened as predicted — Trump was impeached, but he was still more than likely to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.
“I’m sad!” she said, looking genuinely hurt. “It’s a bad mark on him. I feel bad for him.”
As she spoke, the crowd around the bar began to thin out. Some shuffled across the lobby to have dinner at the hotel restaurant. Others began to head for the doors. Those who stayed looked down from the TVs and to their phones, or back to their own conversations. At Trump’s hotel, just blocks from the Capitol and the White House after the impeachment of the President, life had moved on.