As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rallies her party to impeach President Donald Trump, a Democratic lawmaker who has long opposed impeachment said he hasn’t changed his mind.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) said Thursday that unless “something new” emerges, he plans to vote against all impeachment articles, Breitbart reported. Van Drew’s position isn’t new, but his criticism underscores the risk Pelosi is taking with a divisive impeachment drive that has Democratic moderates concerned.
Dem lawmaker won’t support impeachment
Sensitive to the risks of exposing moderate, vulnerable Democrats, Pelosi had long opposed impeachment before her September about-face — and for several weeks more skirted a House rules vote for the same reason. But after weeks of hearings and investigations, Pelosi decided on Thursday that President Trump had left Democrats “no choice” than to seek his ouster.
With barely half the electorate supporting impeachment, Pelosi’s decision is hardly a safe bet for moderate Democrats. Van Drew is the most vocal critic among them, but there are 31 Democrats in districts that Trump carried in 2016.
“Unless there’s something, again, that I haven’t seen, haven’t heard before, that has been my position, for reasons that I’ve staked out, for numerous reasons, the reason I just staked out, you know, be careful what you wish for,” Van Drew told CNN.
Van Drew has urged his party to be cautious about impeachment, emphasizing in recent days that Democrats would only hand Donald Trump a victory by insisting on a doomed effort to remove him from office. Until recently Pelosi agreed with that assessment, aware that impeachment without bi-partisan support would be “divisive” and a losing proposition for her party, since Trump’s conviction in the Republican-led Senate is very unlikely.
Van Drew was one of only two Democrats who voted against his party’s adoption of impeachment House rules in November. The other, Collin Peterson (D-MN), hasn’t said whether he’ll back impeachment articles.
Last man standing
Although they are expressing the same concerns Pelosi once did, these Democrats are, ironically, isolated voices of reason. No longer restrained by party leadership, and heedless of a stubborn lack of bi-partisan support, Democrats are pressing ahead in their mission to oust the president — one that risks not only deepening political divides across the country but could cost Democrats their House majority next year.
Van Drew’s south New Jersey district is among 31 districts that went for Trump in 2016 — in his case, by a five-point margin. Other moderates like Max Rose (D-NY), whose Staten Island district Trump carried in 2016, are carefully eyeing the situation, NBC reported.
“I’m uncomfortable until I see the articles” of impeachment, said Rose. “That’s the most important thing. When you can see the articles, that’s when one can entertain whether one’s comfortable or not.”
Like any reasonable man caught in an angry mob, Van Drew is feeling the heat from his fellow Democrats amidst the sound and fury of current events. The Democrat has been rebuked by Democrat leaders in New Jersey, where he is being threatened with a primary challenge next year.
Democrats could bring articles of impeachment as soon as next week after another hearing that is scheduled for Monday. Nadler has given Trump until 5 p.m. Friday to decide whether he’ll participate.