As Democrats go deeper down the impeachment rabbit hole, at least one 2020 candidate is urging the party to back away from starting an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii congresswoman best known for her contentious, on-stage spat with California Sen. Kamala Harris in the second round of the Democratic primary debates, says that if Trump is to be removed, “it’s important for our country’s sake and our future that the voters in this country are the ones who do that.”
According to The Daily Caller, Gabbard made the remarks on the first episode of Greta Van Susteren’s new TV show, “Full Court Press.”
“I don’t” support impeachment, Gabbard said in the interview, which aired Sunday. “You know, I think it’s important for us to think about what is in the best interest of the country and the American people, and continuing to pursue impeachment is something that I think will only further to tear our country apart.
“Make no bones about it: We need to defeat Donald Trump,” she continued.
“But I think it’s important for our country’s sake and our future that the voters in this country are the ones who do that, and I believe that we will.”
This is actually in line with poll numbers at the moment.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents in a recent Monmouth poll said they wanted Trump replaced, but 59 percent of them said that impeachment was the wrong vehicle for it.
While that wasn’t good news for Trump, it also wasn’t good news for the Democrats, particularly given the fact that the party seems to be inching toward a full-on embrace of impeachment proceedings, at least in the House.
Then there’s the fact that two of the three top contenders for the Democratic presidential race have made it clear they’re for impeachment.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry after previously dithering on the matter. Speaking at the NAACP conference earlier this year, he said that “the president did everything that he could to obstruct the Mueller investigation.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has arguably been the most vocal of the 2020 Democrats calling for impeachment. This is a man who has broken the law and he should be impeached,” Warren said at the same NAACP conference.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, as he is wont to do, has been all over the place.
“I think there are impeachable offenses and that the president should be tried for them. I think it’s something that the House has to come about in an orderly way so that the American people understand that this is not done for political reasons,” Biden said at one point, according to the U.K. Guardian.
He’s also said that impeachment would be divisive “but that it may be unavoidable if this administration continues on its path,” according to Fortune.
However, Biden has also called it a “gigantic distraction” and indicated he didn’t particularly feel too strongly about an impeachment inquiry.
“I’m not one of these guys — you know, ‘lock him’ up or ‘send her home,’ or that kind of stuff,” Biden has said.
Other candidates further down the poll roster, including Harris and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, have also called for impeachment.
Meanwhile, more than half of the Democrats in the House of Representatives have called for an impeachment inquiry — which House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York claims has already started, even if the committee hasn’t officially voted for it.
“This is formal impeachment proceedings,” Nadler told CNN last month.
“We are investigating all the evidence, we’re gathering the evidence. And we will at the conclusion of this — hopefully by the end of the year — vote to vote articles of impeachment to the House floor. Or we won’t. That’s a decision that we’ll have to make. But that’s exactly the process we’re in right now.”
Granted, there are plenty of Democrats in swing districts who would rather see almost anything aside from an impeachment vote, particularly since the American public is against it and there’s almost no chance of securing a conviction in the Senate unless Trump knocks over a bank or something. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has become more amenable to the idea, but she’s not exactly endorsing it.
However, few presidential contenders or Democrats in serious positions of power have been as forceful in terms of rejecting impeachment as Gabbard has.
Saying that impeachment is absolutely the wrong idea is a) totally correct and b) totally going to irk a lot of Democrats.
But that’s kind of the idea.
“The reason why I wanted Tulsi Gabbard is because, out of the pack of 20 or so Democrats that are running, she’s probably the one that is most unlike the others. So I wanted to hear from her,” Van Susteren said, according to The Hill.
“Because the other ones have policies that pretty much match each other, and it becomes a beauty contest among the others because they have so much in common.”
If Gabbard can somehow turn her media attention into first-tier poll numbers, perhaps that can work in her favor.
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