On Wednesday, House Democrats finally had their moment to do what they’ve been vowing to do since Hillary Clinton’s team announced that she wasn’t ready to take the stage to address her historic upset loss: they got to impeach President Trump. But it turns out that they didn’t quite have the numbers they were hoping for. In fact they were a few hundred short.
In a move he described as one of the “greatest moments” of his life, Texas Democrat Rep. Al Green brought dead-on-arrival articles of impeachment against Trump on Wednesday. After reading all eight pages, in which he called Trump “unfit” to be president and accused him of creating “discord,” flaming hatred, and committing “high misdemeanors,” the House voted 364-58 to kill the ill-advised effort.
Somehow failing to throw in the Democrats’ “collusion” narrative, as the Texas Tribune notes, Green laid out a laundry list of what he says is evidence that Trump is harming America, including Trump blasting the “son of a b****” NFL players who continue to kneel for the national anthem. Some of Trump’s other impeachable offenses, Green suggested, was not being critical enough of the white supremacists involved in the tragic Charlottesville protests and his administration’s supposed failure to adequately respond to Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico. Green even threw in the recent “anti-Muslim” videos Trump retweeted from a far-right British group for good measure.
Green’s initial announcement that he would seek to bring articles of impeachment focused entirely on the “collusion” and “obstruction” narratives. “President Trump has committed an act for which he should be charged by the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Green. “The act is the obstruction of a lawful investigation of the President’s campaign ties to Russian influence in his 2016 Presidential Election.”
Among those who voted against Green’s articles were the two leading House Democrats, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Whip Steny Hoyer, who issued a joint statement explaining that while there are “legitimate” reasons to question Trump’s “fitness to lead this nation,” now is not the time to try to take Trump down:
Congress faces a vast set of urgent, overdue priorities for the American people. Democrats are firmly focused on taking real, effective steps to improve the lives of hard-working Americans and defeating Republicans’ cruel barrage of attacks on the middle class. … This President has made statements and taken actions that are beyond the pale for most Americans, embracing those who espouse hatred and division while promoting policies that would harm our economy and undermine our national security. Legitimate questions have been raised about his fitness to lead this nation. Right now, Congressional committees continue to be deeply engaged in investigations into the President’s actions both before and after his inauguration. The special counsel’s investigation is moving forward as well, and those inquiries should be allowed to continue. Now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment.
The Texas Tribune highlights that even most of Green’s fellow Texas Democrats couldn’t get behind the effort, only three of them, including Sheila Jackson Lee, voting with him.
Green issued his own statement following the stunt, declaring that he held no “animus” for his fellow Democrats who voted against his articles and vowing to “continue to speak out against the hatred and hostility that is invading our national discourse.”
While far more Democrats voted against impeaching Trump than for it on Wednesday, the party is clearly working toward impeachment should they manage to win the House in 2018. As Pelosi and Hoyer’s statement suggests, Democrats are hoping to use special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump and his associates to provide them a rationale for impeachment if they’re successful in the next election cycle.