What a week. It’s only Wednesday and the North Carolina House minority Leader took to a press conference to call out the GOP House leadership for lying. The president of UNC Board of Governors resigned, continuing the GOP’s legacy of failed governance of our university system. And yesterday, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced impeachment proceeding against Donald Trump. Today, let’s focus on impeachment.
Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, bragged about asking the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a clear violation of the constitution and Trump’s Oath of Office. Trump believed he could get away with it because he doesn’t believe anyone will hold him accountable. Pelosi called his bluff. Trump may have committed a lot of impeachable offenses, but this one is simple, easy to understand and he’s admitted it. Even Republicans were stunned to learn that Trump threatened to withhold aid until the Ukrainian president gave in to his demands.
Polls indicate that a majority of Americans don’t want Trump impeached, so Democrats are taking a big political risk. However, Trump’s damage to the presidency makes impeachment a necessary consequence or we’re admitting that presidential power can’t be checked. The public also opposed impeaching Nixon until it learned the extent of his wrongdoing. Democrats are hoping for the same outcome.
Pelosi, for her part, shows her keen political acumen. She’s waited to push the impeachment button until Trump did something blatantly and obviously unconstitutional. She probably knew it was inevitable and she knew the Mueller report had been compromised both by the attacks by Republicans and Mueller’s refusal to recommend anything one way or the other. This time, she didn’t wait for the GOP defense. She acted before Trump could start contradicting his admission and while even Republicans were trying to get their heads around the obvious violation of the office.
Republicans like Thom Tillis could be put into a difficult position. Tillis has abandoned any pretense of independence in his bid to garner the president’s support. He’s already debased himself to the point that even Republicans have lost respect for him. If the moderates in the country turn on Trump during the impeachment proceedings Tillis could find himself in the position of defending a very unpopular president. It might not matter, though, if he can’t get through a Republican primary.
Joe Biden might also be collateral damage in the whole affair. While it’s true that investigations have said that he did nothing wrong, it’s also true that his son sat on a board that paid him $50,000 per month. Had his father not been Joe Biden, it’s doubtful Hunter Biden would have had that opportunity. Relationships like that elected Donald Trump in the first place. The swampiness doesn’t diminish Trump’s abuse of power, but it underscores that Biden has been part of a system that benefits the well-connected while too many people still struggle to make ends meet.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >