Some Democrats appear to be getting squeamish over the idea of impeaching President Trump despite having promised it to their increasingly angry and unstable base and there just may be trouble in paradise when it comes to their new House majority.
Leading Dems including newly-minted Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been coy about impeachment, instead vowing to conduct a mind-boggling number of investigations which will be headed by the most venomous Trump haters who have been installed as committee chairs and then to wait on the Mueller report as the smoking gun.
Whether this is just a cynical maneuver to keep the issue alive until 2020 remains to be seen but thanks to one of the touted incoming freshmen class who triggered a firestorm after her video of her telling activists that ‘We’re gonna impeach the motherf*cker’ went viral the mettle of the resistance will be tested.
Now Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib has set off an internal crisis that could splinter the party by sucking all of the air out of the impeachment balloon just as it was taking off. The aftermath of Tlaib’s profanity-drenched war whoop and her subsequent refusal to apologize has many Dems distancing themselves from her and so is the media.
Freshman Democrat Rashida Tlaib told a crowd of progressives that “we’re gonna impeach the motherf—er."
Several rank-and-file Democrats weren't very pleasedhttps://t.co/9iJuYWO2pS
— POLITICO (@politico) January 4, 2019
Via Politico, “Dems livid after Tlaib vows to ‘impeach the motherf—er’”:
House Democrats are furious that an incoming freshman’s expletive-riddled statement about impeaching Donald Trump has suddenly upended their carefully crafted rhetoric on their plans to take on the president.
Rank-and-file Democrats, immediately fearful of the damage the comment could cause, unloaded on their new colleague Friday morning. Republicans, they argued, would hold it up as proof that Democrats are playing politics rather than pursuing genuine oversight of the president — even if the GOP never showed interest in investigating Trump scandals while it was in power.
“Mueller hasn’t even produced his report yet!” said Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. “People should cool their jets a little bit, let the prosecutors do their job and finish the investigation.”
“Inappropriate,” added Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.). “As elected officials I think we should be expected to set a high bar… It’s not helpful.”
Even Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who introduced an impeachment resolution earlier this week, was shocked. His eyes bulged in disbelief when a reporter read him Tlaib’s comments and he was speechless for several seconds.
After he regained his composure, Sherman said that kind of language is detrimental to the cause: “That’s not language I would use … I think the office of the presidency should be treated with respect.”
Party elders also sought to calm talk of impeachment without criticizing Tlaib directly. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, called Talib’s comments “inappropriate” and said, “We need to be patient.”
“You can’t accomplish very much of anything unless you have civility and show respect for your colleagues,” Cummings said. “Those kind of comments do not take us in the right direction.”
"We’re going to impeach!" Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, shattered the carefully crafted Democratic talking points on impeachment with her expletive-laden vow to get the president. https://t.co/vBv4aOkacc
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) January 4, 2019
According to the New York Times, “Rashida Tlaib’s Expletive-Laden Cry to Impeach Trump Upends Democrats’ Talking Points”:
Impeachment was always going to hang heavily over a divided Washington. But it took little more than 24 hours this week for a freshman House Democrat’s exuberant, expletive-laden impeachment promise to upend the bonhomie of a new Congress and prompt President Trump, by his own telling, to ask the newly elected speaker if Democrats planned to impeach him.
The episode began Thursday night, just hours after the 116th Congress was sworn in, when a camera captured Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan promising profanely to impeach Mr. Trump as she drew cheers from liberal activists at a celebration at a bar near the Capitol. By the time Mr. Trump discussed the matter directly in a news conference in the Rose Garden on Friday afternoon, weeks of speculation about his potential peril had burst into the open.
Republicans, eager to portray Democrats as out to destroy Mr. Trump’s presidency, piled on criticism of Ms. Tlaib — some of it racially tinged. (Ms. Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, is one of the first Muslims in Congress. The Christian Broadcasting Network referred to her as a “foul-mouthed Islamic congresswoman.”) Democratic leaders, who view discussion of impeachment as politically dangerous and premature, offered worried words meant to tamp down speculation about their intentions.
Tlaib’s obscene invective appears to have many Dems in a state of panic:
Rep. Adam Smith: "It's not too soon to be talking about [impeachment]. We will have to decide whether or not it's the correct course of action. But certainly we should be discussing it." https://t.co/ChTWAfpWhQ pic.twitter.com/mFikitLIwS
— The Hill (@thehill) January 5, 2019
California Democrat: Evidence isn't there for impeachment https://t.co/vLS3ORgZYQ
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 5, 2019
Hold fire on impeachment. The time is not now. Some exploit the process for political gain, but they aren’t helping. Step 1: investigate. Step 2: evaluate. Step 3: debate. Then, if the facts warrant it and they likely will, step 4: impeach.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) January 5, 2019
Impeachment will require charges by the House and a trial in the Senate. There is a political element, but members of both bodies should conduct themselves with the dignity, fairness and respect for the rule of law that we expect of prosecutors and judges. Otherwise it’s a joke.
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) January 5, 2019
But the extremists are doubling down:
— Congressman Al Green (@RepAlGreen) January 5, 2019
NEED GUIDANCE: What's worse, a curse word from a member of Congress or Mitch McConnell and his cronies stealing a Supreme Court seat?#impeachment
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) January 4, 2019
She was only saying what we're all thinking. https://t.co/c8yMrkExHn
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 4, 2019
As for the radical who whacked the hornet’s nest?
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 4, 2019
This is not just about Donald Trump. This is about all of us. In the face of this constitutional crisis, we must rise.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 4, 2019
The hatred of Trump and anticipation of blood vengeance has been the glue that has held together a squabbling and noisy collection of competing identity groups who have little in common other than their shared resentment over a lost election and Pelosi is going to quickly find out that keeping her collection of zanies on the reservation will be like trying to herd cats.