House Democrats are split on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s pronouncement thatbecause it is too divisive, and President Trump is “not worth” the effort.
“I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before,” Pelosi told The Washington Post Magazine in an interview published Monday. “But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
Some House Democrats have publicly agreed with her comments, but others feel not impeaching Mr. Trump would be a betrayal of their purpose as members of the House majority.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who would be in charge of any impeachment proceedings, said he agrees with Pelosi in an interview with ABC News.
“She says it has to be bipartisan, the evidence has to be overwhelming, which is what I’ve been saying,” Nadler said. “I’ve stated my position. It has to be enough evidence that you think you’ll get substantial support from the opposition voters.”
Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries said impeaching Mr. Trump would not mean Democrats were fulfilling campaign promises.
“We didn’t run on impeachment, we did not win on impeachment, we are not governing with a focus on impeachment,” Jeffries said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings noted to CBS News “even if we were to vote here in the House for impeachment, you’re not going to get those votes over in the Senate.”
“I think what Nancy Pelosi is saying — take that off the table right now, let’s continue to do our research, but let’s deal with the issues that affect Americans on a day to day basis and I applaud that. I thought it was absolutely brilliant,” Cummings said.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and one of the most prominent critics of Mr. Trump, said he believed Pelosi was “right.” Absent “extraordinarily clear and compelling” evidence, Schiff said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Tuesday, “impeachment becomes a partisan exercise doomed for failure.”
“The only thing worse than putting the country through the trauma of an impeachment is the trauma of a failed impeachment,” Schiff said.
However, Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky told CNN he believed Mr. Trump’s impeachment was “inevitable.”
“To me it’s not a question of ‘whether,’ it’s a question of ‘when,'” Yarmuth said. “And probably right now is not the right time, but I think at some point it’s going to be inevitable.”
Rep. Al Green, who has repeatedly introduced a bill to impeach Mr. Trump, vehemently disagreed and criticized the “political expediency” of those comments.
“If he’s that bad, and if he’s that unfit, then we ought to do something about it now,” Green said on Facebook. He declined to criticize Pelosi.
Freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib made waves in January when she said she wanted to wanted to “impeach the motherf*****”, meaning Mr. Trump. She told reporters last week she will soon in an effort to begin the process.
One of Tlaib’s new colleagues, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, deferred to Pelosi, however.
“She’s always demonstrated leadership that takes all kind of factors into account,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Monday, according to The Hill. “Legally, I don’t think it’s something that can ever be 100 percent off the table, but if that’s how she feels right now I respect that.”
Olivia Gazis and Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.