On Wednesday, a Democrat-led motion to table a plan to impeach President Trump failed 364-58. Texan Representative Al Green led the motion on the House floor to combat a president he believes is a “bigot” who is “causing harm to society.”
Green, who also called for the president to be impeached in May, led a “privileged” motion on impeachment, a rule that allows a single representative to force a House vote on whether or not to consider an issue. If the vote had passed, the House would still have needed to consider the issue, vote with a majority in favour of impeachment, and then pass the case on to the Senate in order to impeach the President.
In a letter to colleagues in the House on Tuesday, Green said that he was bringing the motion forward because he loves America. In the letter, Green did not mention the allegations of obstruction of justice, but cited the “racism, xenophobia, the hatred and the ugly behavior that’s coming from the White House.” Green believes that Trump’s racist and Islamophobic rhetoric “divides and damages the social fabric of our country in ways that obstruction of justice cannot.”
Few Democrats stood with Green on the question of impeachment. Although a Public Religion Research Institute study published on Tuesday found that seven out of 10 Democrats believed the president should be impeached, the majority of Democrats voted against Green’s motion. The 58 Democrats who supported Green’s proposal (and the four who abstained from voting) are all representatives of fairly secure blue districts.
In a joint statement, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer said that “now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment” and that the special counsel’s investigation into the president should be “allowed to continue.” At the same time, they said that many of the president’s actions were “beyond the pale,” and questioned his fitness to lead the nation.
In a statement to CNN, White House spokesman Raj Shah called those who voted to table the impeachment “extremists,” and said that they should instead be “focusing on tax relief for American families and businesses, and working to fund our troops and veterans through the holiday season.” Shah did not make any statements on the President’s fitness to lead.
Green did not expect his motion to succeed, and said after the vote that he “didn’t have an indication that so many Democrats were going to vote for it.” But Green felt as though his conscience compelled him to bring the motion forward. “I have a low tolerance for bigotry,” he said in an interview after the vote. “I think we have for too long put hatred on the back burner.”
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