There was a brief, shining moment amid the bedlam in Congress last night during which Rep. Al Green promised to file articles of impeachment against President Trump for being a big ol’ racist. This was the third time that Green has proposed resolutions forcing a vote on impeachment, but the first time since Democrats have controlled the House, giving the resolution a real shot.
Everyone was pretty sure Green’s resolution would fail, either by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tabling it, or sending it to the House Judiciary Committee. Turns out she went with the first option, and the House supported her, according to the New York Times.
A motion to table the resolution, effectively killing it, ended with a 332-95 vote. That means 95 Democrats were willing to vote for impeachment, even though they were soundly defeated. That’s not nothing!
Pelosi tried to blame Trump for masterminding this week’s events, which eventually led to Green’s resolution.
“You have to give him credit: He’s a great distractor,” Pelosi told the Times.
But she was not willing to say that Trump was derailing Democratic priorities.
“We’re not having him set our agenda; we’re setting our own agenda,” she added.
It’s true that Pelosi is part of the reason why the current shitfight in Congress is happening at all. It was her repeated criticism of the freshman congresswomen of color known as “the Squad” that began the controversy that would lead to Trump’s racist tweets.
Pelosi said that Democrats are already doing enough to hold Trump accountable, without opening an impeachment inquiry.
“We have six committees that are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the president may have engaged in,” she told the Times. “That is the serious path that we are on.”
Some supporters of an impeachment inquiry agree that now isn’t the right time to start down that path.
“At some point, we have to be more focused on success than noise, and I just think this will feel a lot more like noise,” Rep. Dan Kildee told the Times.
But Green says he isn’t following a political strategy by repeatedly bringing up impeachment, but merely abiding by his conscience.
“I will do this even if I am the only person involved in the process because there are some times on some issues when it is better than to stand alone than not stand at all,” Green told reporters. “We cannot wait. As we wait, we risk having the blood of somebody on our hands, and it could be a member of Congress.”
“If you voted yesterday to condemn the president, you voted yesterday for that resolution. The people who are going to vote against you are already going to vote against you,” Green said, referring to moderate members of Congress. “Deciding today that you are not going to impeach will not exonerate you.”
“It’s time for us to deal with his bigotry,” Green continued. “This president has demonstrated that he’s willing to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, and we have seen what can happen to people when bigotry is allowed to have a free rein. We all ought to go on record. We all ought to let the world know where we stand when we have a bigot in the White House.”
Correction, July 18, 10:30 a.m. ET: A previous version of this post characterized the vote taken on Wednesday as one on opening an impeachment inquiry. The Green resolution was to introduce articles of impeachment, which would have skipped the inquiry step of the process.