Thanksgiving will be awkward for many Americans this year
As Americans sit down to their annual Thanksgiving turkey, the impeachment of Donald Trump is likely to prompt plenty of family disagreements.
The ongoing process in Washington appears to have widened the divisions across the country, as Democrats and Republicans disagree over the conduct of the 45th president.
Orange County in California used to be safe, conservative, Republican territory – the place where Ronald Reagan built his political career. So different was it to the rest of this liberal state, people talk about living behind the “Orange Curtain”.
But in the midterm elections last year, Democrats swept away decades of Republican power in a “blue wave”, a result seen largely as a reaction to the Trump presidency.
It has created a tension in a region which has seen huge demographic change yet is still conservative at heart. Fans of Donald Trump here are a little wary of talking impeachment to outsiders.
“My political views are none of your business to be honest with you,” said Chris Webb, as he emerged, surfboard under his arm, from the open-air shower on the boardwalk in Huntington Beach.
“However, it is obviously a political stunt, so why waste the taxpayers’ time and money and energy? Get the job done, get the work done that’s not being done in Congress.”
More from US
President Trump in first visit to Afghanistan as Taliban peace talks restart
Free solo climber Brad Gobright, 31, dies in cliff fall in Mexico
Giraffes among 10 animals killed in barn fire at wildlife park
Aniah Blanchard: Human remains confirmed to be UFC fighter Walt Harris’ stepdaughter
Melissa Benoist: Supergirl star says she’s a ‘survivor of domestic violence’
‘Total carnage’: Police ‘mourn’ loss of doughnuts after they fall from truck
Another surfer, Chris Barkmeier, had a different view: “I think if somebody did something wrong, they need to do something about it, and it appears somebody did something wrong so we’ve got to do something about it. That’s our constitution, right?”
A short distance along the boardwalk, Bob Corr is wheeling out the bikes for rent and sweeping away the sand from the front of his seaside shop.
“It’s embarrassing to have him as our president if you ask me,” he said. “Integrity? Where’s that? In his back pocket? Our system is based on checks and balances and they’ve got to have their eye on him, nobody’s above regulation.”
On the beach volleyball courts, even more people are unwilling to discuss politics. Those who are explain how difficult conversations have become between friends.
Brenda Peterson said: “If you talk to your liberal friends, they have a very strong belief that they don’t like Trump they want him out by any means whether fair or not.
“If you talk to your conservative friends, they believe that it’s unjustified and they’re just trying to find a way to get a Democrat elected, whether it is fair, decent, honourable or not.”
Does she think the impeachment process is fair, decent or honourable? “I do not at all,” she replies.
When the last Republican president to face impeachment resigned to avoid it, it was to Orange County that he retreated. From here, Richard Nixon spent the rest of his life trying to rebuild his reputation.
Keeping the Thanksgiving peace this year is uppermost in the mind of Nancy St John, wiping down her gleaming Airstream trailer in a beach-front campsite.
Her family is Republican, her husband’s is Democrat. She said: “My rule at home is we don’t talk about any politics.”
Impeachment, she says, is a distraction from the real needs of the country.
In truth, few people here expect impeachment to force Donald Trump from office. The political maths in the Senate makes it almost impossible.
It is they, the voters, who will ultimately decide his fate at the ballot box next November – and that is the way they prefer it.