Republicans are pushing a talking point that must be rejected — that impeachment of President Donald Trump is an attempt to undo the democratic will of the American people.
The Trump administration made this point themselves within a letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to Democrats, alerting them that there would be no cooperation in the impeachment process whatsoever. “Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen,” Cipollone wrote, according to the New York Times.
It’s not just the president or his handlers, however, that are touting this line — his supporters in Congress are doing it, too. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), responding to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Twitter, chastised Democrats for wanted to change the results of Trump’s win.
“American elections should be decided by ELECTIONS. Not politicians. I know you’re still upset about the results from 2016, but people here in Iowa would sure appreciate it if you spent less time playing political games” and focused on other legislative matters, Ernst wrote, according to a report from Raw Story.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) also expressed the same sentiment just days ago:
House Democrats have wanted to undo the results of the 2016 election for three years, and now they’re rushing a sham impeachment process.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) October 8, 2019
This line of thinking isn’t uncommon among the GOP right now. However, it’s totally wrong.
No one is trying to undo an election result, but rather hold the president accountable for his actions. There are serious problems with what the president said in a July phone call to another foreign leader, including the possibility that he held for ransom military aid they were desperate to get, in order to have one of his political foes unduly investigated by that country.
Other problems abound, too, like Emoluments Clause violations, illegal or improper FEC filings, and the 10 instances of obstruction of justice that former special counsel Robert Mueller outlined in his eponymous report earlier this year.
Decrying how Democratic lawmakers supposedly want to overturn the will of the people ignores another reality these supporters of Trump don’t care to pay any mind to: that the president himself didn’t actually get the approval of most Americans. He lost the popular vote in 2016, by a margin of almost 3 million voters across the country.
But that’s beside the point, because that election wasn’t even the most recent one that’s occurred. We’ve had a midterm election since that time, where Democrats won by an overwhelming margin, selected by the American people to be a “check” on Trump’s presidential powers. By a margin of 12 points, CNN reported in their exit polling data, more voters in 2018 cast their ballots to “oppose” Trump than did to “support” him.
Still, other Republican leaders maintain that Democrats’ only motives in the impeachment inquiry is to somehow undermine the people’s wishes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said as much as soon as it was announced by Pelosi in late September.
“Washington Democrats have been searching for ways to reverse their 2016 election defeat since before President Trump was even inaugurated,” McConnell said, per USA Today.
Which is rich, coming from him. As Business Insider reported, McConnell refused to comment about the behavior of his own caucus just days before the election in 2016. When it seemed like Hillary Clinton was set to win, Republicans were reportedly devising ways to impeach her before the election even happened.
There are plenty of reasons why the impeachment inquiry is legitimate, as already outlined above. But perhaps the most important reason, one that all of these Republicans saying it’s just to “undo” an election result are neglecting to acknowledge, is that the American people want it to happen. Poll after poll shows support for the impeachment inquiry, while the only polls showing opposition to it are the ones Trump has made up.
Impeachment itself is a right that Congress has to carry out, if it so desires. The leaders of that co-equal branch of government are justified in their actions, as duly elected individuals themselves, to perform the functions that their jobs entail — which, according to the Constitution, includes impeachment, if it’s so warranted.
This line of argument from Republicans is simply a method to appeal to their base. It doesn’t fit with reality, which has often been a problem for the party of Trump, particularly in the past couple of years. Unfortunately, this refusal to face the facts — and to accept that this president is worthy of impeachment — is detrimental to the future of our nation.