Dem blasts Pelosi for ‘trivializing’ impeachment

Dem blasts Pelosi for ‘trivializing’ impeachment
© Greg Nash

The Democratic lawmaker leading the impeachment charge against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump appears to confirm deal on Chinese firm ZTE Judge rejects Manafort's attempt to throw out some charges Dem: Trump’s policy of separating children, parents at border ‘would shock Jesus’ MORE went after House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiElection fears recede for House Republicans Senate harassment bill runs into opposition from House 2018 midterms: The blue wave or a red dawn? MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday for “trivializing” the effort.

Pelosi and Democratic leaders have sought to tamp down the small impeachment push within their ranks, arguing the president hasn’t done anything to merit such a weighty response. Pelosi, a frequent critic of the president, said last week that “being a jerk” doesn’t rise to the level of seeking his ouster.

But Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenDem lawmaker: We will impeach Trump if we retake the House The Memo: Trump team stokes fight over Mueller House Dem makes fiery call for Trump's impeachment MORE (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 leadership’s wishes.

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“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 impeachment issue has divided Democrats since Trump took office, pitting a handful of liberals against party leaders who fear the issue could spark a political backlash at the polls in November when they’re hoping to win back the House. Pelosi has discouraged such talk, calling it “a gift” to Republicans in the midterms.

She’s putting a damper on the impeachment effort while awaiting the outcome of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign helped Russia swing the election against Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonElection fears recede for House Republicans To woo black voters in Georgia, Dems need to change their course of action Trump lawyer touts petition to stop 'soft coup' against Trump MORE. Pushing to oust Trump beforehand, she’s said, risks politicizing the probe and undermining its conclusions.

“Impeachment is a distraction,” Pelosi said last week. “I’m not walking away from impeachment for political reasons, and I’m not walking toward it for political reasons. I just think it’s divisive.”

Meeting with The Dallas Morning News's editorial board on Friday, Pelosi amplified her position, arguing for Democrats to focus instead on the party’s economic message heading into the elections.

"We have elections. Go vote if it's a policy thing and a behavior thing,” she said. “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."

Pelosi went on to praise Green as “a wonderful person,” but warned against the political fallout if Democrats train their sights on Trump in lieu of bread-and-butter economic issues.

“It’s a total gift to the Republicans,” she said. “What people want to know is, what are you doing to help me in my life? How I’m going to educate my kids or pay the rent or mortgage, medical bills and the rest of that? They think it’s an excuse not to have solutions by talking about the rest of these other things.”

Her position has done little to dissuade Green, whose impeachment articles say Trump has “brought disrepute, contempt, ridicule and disgrace on the presidency” and “sown discord among the people of the United States.”

Among a litany of examples, he cites Trump’s criticism of the NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and his equivocal response to last summer’s violent white supremacist marches in Charlottesville, Va.

Green has already forced two floor votes on the issue. The first, in December, was supported by 58 Democrats. The number rose to 66 in the second vote in January — a bump attributed to Trump’s reported derogatory comments about African nations, Haiti and El Salvador made just a week before.