As much as Nancy Pelosi wants to stop talking about impeachment, Rep. Al Green wants to talk even more about it. The man behind the only formal impeachment efforts in the House, which have languished as his fellow Democrats try to maintain arms-length distance, took umbrage over Pelosi’s attempt to shut down his pet project. Green accused Pelosi of “trivializing” Donald Trump’s “harmful bigotry” against, well, just about every demographic with whom the Democratic Party seeks to curry favor:
But Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus who introduced articles of impeachment last year accusing the president of inciting racial divisions, suggested it’s his patriotic duty to stand up to the president, despite the leadership’s wishes.
“It is regrettable that Leader Pelosi would trivialize President Trump’s hateful discrimination against Jews, Latinos, Blacks, Women, and the LGBTQ community by reducing the president’s harmful bigotry to his ‘being a jerk,’” Green said Monday in a brief statement.
“Love for my country will not permit me to allow the president’s bigotry to be trivialized and minimized.”
The catalyst for today’s rebuke from Green was an interview Pelosi gave to the editors of the Dallas Morning News, published on Friday. It was not lost on Green that Pelosi came to his backyard to take a swipe at him and his impeachment effort. Pelosi wanted to talk up the recruits she’s found for House races in Texas, but told the editors that she could do without Green’s impeachment attempts as distractions. So far, Pelosi said, the only thing Trump could be indicted for was “being a jerk”:
Pelosi took multiple shots at the president’s policies, his behavior and his comments about Sen. John McCain during the 2016 election. But she’s not in favor of impeachment and believes talking about it is “a gift to Republicans.”
Pelosi said she still incurs “the wrath of the left” for not trying to impeach Bush, with whom she strongly disagreed on the Iraq war. But she believes it was the right decision. And she wishes Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, wouldn’t have made impeaching Trump an issue in the House.
“We have elections,” she said. “Go vote if it’s a policy thing and a behavior thing. I don’t know if you can get impeached for being a jerk, but if we did, this guy would be long gone. But that’s not unifying.”
Trump’s done a lot more than just being a jerk, progressive members of La Résistance will respond — as Green did as well in his statement today. But if so, it’s not much more than being a jerk, other than enact policies and make appointments that Democrats don’t like. As Paul Mirengoff noted earlier today, Trump hasn’t defied court orders or committed actual crimes, at least not that Green can establish. Democracy has not disappeared into darkness despite the Washington Post’s worries.
It’s true, of course, that grounds for impeachment are pretty much whatever the House decides. If Democrats take over the House, they can dictate those outcomes, and Green will be in the lead in pushing for it. That, however, is precisely what Pelosi doesn’t want voters thinking about as the midterms come ever closer. The “blue wave” keeps moving farther offshore as voters acclimate themselves to Trump and as they realize that, despite what Democrats keep claiming, the sky has not fallen.
Of course, if Green wants to battle bigotry, he doesn’t need Pelosi to enable him. Green could set an example himself by disavowing Louis Farrakhan and calling out the Nation of Islam leader for his poisonous anti-Semitism. He’s had a couple of months in which to do so, but maybe he just thinks Farrakhan was being a jerk.