Pelosi: Impeachment push ‘a gift’ to GOP
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Thursday that Democratic efforts to impeach President Trump will hurt the party’s chances in November’s midterm elections, making her sternest public rebuke of the liberals in her own caucus who are pushing to oust the president.
“I don’t think we should be talking about impeachment. I’ve been very clear right from the start,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
“On the political side I think it’s a gift to the Republicans,” she added. “We want to talk about what they’re doing to undermine working families in our country and what we are doing to increase their payrolls and lower their costs.”
The comments come as an increasing number of embattled Republicans are leaning on the threat of impeachment to lend them an advantage in tight races around the country.
Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have, for months, sought to tamp down the small but growing impeachment push among Democrats in her ranks, citing several reasons for their reluctance to pursue the issue.
First, they simply don’t think there’s a basis to do so. Second, they fear it could politicize the Justice Department’s investigation, headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. And third, they’re concerned it will distract from the Democrats’ effort to focus their campaign message on issues of economic security, while potentially energizing Trump’s conservative base.
A handful of liberal Democrats have ignored the warnings, offering a series of impeachment articles citing a list of grievances they say make Trump unfit for the presidency. Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who’s leading the charge, forced a vote on the issue in December that won the support of 58 Democrats.
Green pushed the issue again in January, in a vote that won 66 Democrats. The rise in support was largely attributed to an episode in between, when Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries.”
Pelosi on Thursday made clear that she’s hoping impeachment gets no more floor time ahead of the midterms, amplified all the reasons she thinks it’s a bad move both practically and politically.
“This election is not about what’s going on in the White House and the rest of that. It’s about our addressing the needs of the American people, and we cannot take our eye off that ball,” Pelosi said.
“They criticized me before when I was Speaker for not impeaching President [George W.] Bush. Impeachment is a very serious matter. If it happens, it has to be a bipartisan initiative. I don’t think we have the information to go to that place, and I would discourage any discussion of impeachment.”
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