Impeachment for bigotry in policy must not be ignored

I love my country. For this reason, I support the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump and recognize the moral imperative to do so for the harm his bigoted policies have caused our nation. While there are other grounds, including obstruction of justice that merit impeachment, they do not supersede the need to impeach him for imposing his bigotry into policy. These policies hurt people, harm society, must not be tolerated, and should not be reduced to the president simply being ill-mannered or mercurial. Further, these bigoted policies should not be dismissed as mere politics, not subject to impeachment. If Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingOcasio-Cortez rips Steve King after he shares video drinking from toilet-fountain hybrid at border Steve King says he drank from toilet at detention center Steve King jokes about China forcing Muslims to eat pork MORE (R-Iowa) can be held accountable for his words, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE can be impeached for his bigoted policies.

For too long, we have allowed our civility to prevent us from confronting the president’s invidious incivility with a constitutional remedy that does not interfere with the Mueller investigation. Many have concluded that it is better to defeat the president at the next election than impeach him now for his bigoted transgressions.  In doing this, his bigoted policies have festered in our body politic and polluted our discourse to our detriment.  His bigoted policies divide and damage the social fabric of our country in ways that obstruction of justice and unlawfully conspiring with Russians do not.  They cause unparalleled destruction to our society in the long- and short-term that will not easily heal. This is supported in part by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics which indicate that reports of hate crimes rose by 17 percent during the first year of the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

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Although he may not be the first president to imbed bigotry within presidential policy, he is the first to use the bully pulpit, enlarged exponentially with social media statements, to incite hostility harmful to society and antithetical to the constitutionally protected interests of minorities, women, Jews, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community.

The president launched his campaign with bigoted comments about immigrants from Mexico.  He indicated that Muslims should be banned from our country and instituted such a policy. He indicated that certain members of the LGBTQ community should not serve in the military and is attempting to implement such a policy. He said there were some “very fine people” among white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and bigots in Charlottesville where an innocent woman was killed. He encouraged police to infringe upon the constitutional rights of suspects within their custody. He attempted to eliminate diversity visas for persons from African, Caribbean and Central American countries, after referring to some of these nations as “s---hole countries.”  He instituted a policy to deter persons of color seeking lawful asylum from countries south of the border by separating babies from their mothers, with no thoughtful plan to reunite them. 

When considered as a whole, the above actions constitute impeachable harm to our society that need not be criminal. This is evidenced by the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson for a non-criminal offense in Article 10 of the articles of impeachment against him. President Johnson was impeached for the high misdeed or misdemeanor of speaking ill of Congress. It must be duly noted that the word misdemeanor was defined as a misdeed at the time that Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution was ratified and is currently defined as a misdeed, in addition to a crime less serious than a felony.

The framers of the Constitution more than wisely concluded that no one (including the president) would be above the law. They judiciously concluded that, paraphrasing George Mason, “no President should be above justice.”

Justice has a moral component that the law may be void of. Americans have grappled with circumstances in our history where justice prevailed over legality. That slavery was once lawful, but never just, is but one such example.

The framers of the Constitution provided the People by and through Congress the means to remove an unfit president from office who has caused harm to society despite not having committed a crime. In fact, impeachment, as prophetically defined by the framers of the Constitution, was designed for a time such as this and a president such as Trump.

I find no solace in bringing forth articles of impeachment. I’ve done so because some among us must attempt to “bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice.” It’s not about Democrats, it’s about protecting our democracy. It’s not about Republicans, it’s about preserving our republic. It’s about liberty and justice for all in the land I love, and given our nation’s history, I can think of no better way to send a resounding message to friends and foes alike, domestically and around the world that the United States of America will no longer tolerate bigotry in public policy than to impeach a bigoted president.

Green represents the 9th District of Texas.