November 16, 2017
Being conservative isn’t a crime — but there are six Democrats in the U.S. House ready to treat it like one. Yesterday, against the advice of their own party leaders, a half-dozen liberals filed Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump for a grab-bag of offenses. Ranging from the comic to the bizarre, Tennessee’s Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) outlined the case against the president (not very effectively, based on the reaction of most Washington insiders). Even the mainstream media, which has been calling for Trump’s head since January, collectively rolled its eyes at the news.
Hurting the press’s feelings, appointing conservative justices, and owning successful businesses are hardly the stuff of Watergate. Yet, Cohen insisted at a press conference with fellow conspirators Reps. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.), Al Green (Texas) and Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), and John Yarmuth (Ky.), “We believe that President Trump has violated the Constitution.” Specifically, they charge Trump with obstructing justice, violating the Constitution’s foreign and domestic emoluments clauses, and undermining the federal judiciary and press.
Undermining the press, an incredulous Stephen Dinan asks in the Washington Times? How — “by being mean to it?” And since when is criticizing a court’s judgment an infringement on the judiciary? President Obama berated the Supreme Court justices to their face at his own State of the Union! Where were his Articles of Impeachment? And, as National Review explained earlier this year (and CNN agreed) on the bogus emoluments charge, “Trump’s opponents claim that every time… a foreign diplomat books a room in a Trump hotel or pays for a meal in a Trump restaurant, the Constitution is violated…. Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe all owned massive plantations and sold agricultural commodities in Europe. Undoubtedly, some of their customers were foreign governments, but no political opponent ever raised the specter that they were violating the foreign-emoluments clause.”
This is an unserious, petty, and self-destructive campaign for Democrats. But don’t take my word for it — take theirs. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been against this witch hunt since May. “What are the facts?” she asked CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “If you don’t have that case, you’re just participating in more hearsay.” This week, she could only shake her head. Impeachment, she told reporters, “is not someplace I think we should go.” The party’s minority whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), was equally concerned. “Do we disagree with [Trump’s] policies? We do. But disagreeing with the policies is not enough to overturn an election, a free and fair election,” he admitted with uncharacteristic rationality. “There are a large number of Democrats that believe this president ought to be impeached,” he went on. “We’ve just made a judgment that the facts aren’t there to pursue that.” Even DNC Chairman Tom Perez wanted nothing to do with the six’s crusade. “I’m not talking about impeachment,” he let everyone know.
Liberal columnists from Vanity Fair to the Chicago Sun-Times complained that the effort would do more harm to their cause than good. “Nobody wants Trump gone from the White House more than me,” wrote Mark Brown. But, “You’re kidding yourselves if you think this is any sort of real blow to Trump… Our fellow Americans elected him…They won. We lost. And until there’s a stronger case to be made for impeachment, Democrats would be better served by being patient while fighting Trump on other fronts.”
Of course, the irony is that Barack Obama, whose picture belongs next to Webster’s definition of lawlessness, is the one who could have legitimately been impeached. If the Constitution hadn’t been in bomb-proof casing those eight years, the 44th president would have erased every memory of it. His abuses of power — from recess appointments and contraception mandates to IRS targeting — were actual violations of the law. The Democrats’ case against Donald Trump amounts to one thing: policy differences.
Of course, this has been the strategy all along. From cake bakers to sportscasters, liberals have tried to persuade people that holding conservative views is a fireable offense at best — and a criminal one at worst. It isn’t breaking the law to disagree with the radical ideology of the Democratic Party, but that’s what politicians like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) allege in their criticism of Trump. “He creates controversy, he cannot get along with our members of Congress, and I’m going to continue my efforts to impeach him.” Apparently, Karl Rove wrote, “the standard for impeaching a president has shifted again: Now he can be removed from office for creating controversy and fighting with Congress.”
And while the impeachment of Trump isn’t something people inside D.C. take seriously, there is one thing they do — and that’s next year’s election. If you think that President Trump’s had a hard time getting things done with a Republican Congress, imagine what would happen if Democrats regain control of the House, Senate — or both. Our country can’t afford to hand the mantle back to Pelosi and Hoyer, who will almost certainly declare war on traditional values, bringing whatever positive change Trump’s affected to a grinding halt. As for their hesitation on impeachment proceedings, I don’t have to tell you how quickly that could change. So, remain vigilant. If you want to see more of the president’s promises become a reality, don’t let up!
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.