House Democrats’ attempt to impeach President Donald Trump is having an effect by uniting Republicans as never before.
By Wednesday, the Democratic-held House neared a vote to impeach Trump over expected unanimous GOP opposition, a moment spotlighting his hold on congressional Republicans.
“Trump is as strong as a tank with Republicans,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) a member of the House GOP leadership. He said that along with Democrats’ weak evidence against Trump and unfair impeachment process, “The combination of the three make this one of the easier votes we’ll cast.”
Wednesday’s expected unanimous GOP vote was coming after party leaders held numerous impeachment briefings for lawmakers. Those sessions were aimed at making sure they were “getting information to people,” said No. 2 House GOP leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
With the impeachment vote coming just 11 months before the next presidential and congressional elections, Republicans said they believed it was Democrats who would be hurt.
“Pelosi has made this the party of impeachment,” Scalise said of Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California. ”Clearly this has been a personal vendetta they’ve been carrying out to please their most radical base.”
“What we’re defining ourselves as is defenders of the Constitution,” said Rep. Lynn Cheney (R-Wyo.), another member of House GOP leadership. Asked if it was risky for the GOP to unanimously align itself with Trump, she said, “There is absolutely zero peril for the Republican Party to align itself with the Constitution.’’
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) on Sunday lamented that Democrats decided to proceed with the vote this Wednesday “despite what a Democratic scholar called the fastest, thinnest, weakest impeachment in U.S. history.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy explained on Dec. 14, why the impeachment will ultimately backfire at the Democrats politically. He said that 8.5 million of President Donald Trump’s voters who stayed home during the 2018 midterm elections will show up for him following the Democrats’ impeachment and Republicans would retake the House majority in 2020.
“It’s not just me who thinks it, if you just look at the polling in their own districts,” McCarthy said, referencing vulnerable Democrats whose districts won by Trump in 2016. “If you look at the polling today, a number of these Democrats—Kendra Horn [from Oklahoma] and others, they’re going to become upside in their districts. New Mexico, 37 percent of the state only supports impeachment, where a majority does not support it. There is more places to play than just those 31 seats.”
President Trump also believes that the impeachment process against him has had the effect of uniting Republicans and could become a “big deal.”
“I think it’s going to be a big push for Republicans,” President Trump said. “Republicans have never, ever been so committed as they are right now, and so united. So it’s really a big deal in some ways, but in others, it’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace for our country.”
Includes reporting from the Associated Press.