House to vote on impeaching Trump, again
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, is again urging the U.S. House of Representatives to start impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. | Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call via AP

WASHINGTON—Al Green is again trying to get his U.S. House colleagues to impeach Donald Trump.

The Democratic congressman from Houston tried twice before, in GOP-run Congresses, to get the House to impeach the Republican president for his racism, xenophobia, sexism, and incitement of hatred nationwide. Green failed, getting around 60 votes each time, out of 435 lawmakers.

But now Democrats run the House. And after the 240-187 virtually party-line House vote on July 16 denouncing Trump’s rants, raves, and vicious tweets against four first-year House Democrats, all of them women of color, Green, who is African-American, is trying again, for the same reasons he cited before.

The catch: cautious House Democratic leaders don’t support impeaching Trump for racism. Instead, they’re waiting for definitive results from the Judiciary Committee’s proto-impeachment probe of Trump’s cooperation with Russian manipulation of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Green’s impeachment articles don’t mention that cooperation, and he’s unwilling to wait.

“To condemn a racist president is not enough, we must impeach him. This will be a defining vote. The world is watching, and history will judge us all,” Green said when introducing his impeachment articles the same day denunciation passed. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., also introduced a resolution censuring Trump, by name. The only other House censure was directed against President Andrew Jackson for what lawmakers called monarchical tendencies.

Green brought up his impeachment articles under a special procedure ordering a vote within two days. House leaders—hating the idea—scheduled the vote for late on July 17. Impeachment’s expected to fail, but it’s also expected to get more votes than it did when the GOP ran the show. Impeaching Trump would be “an indelible stain on his record” even if the Senate doesn’t convict him, Green said.

Pro-impeachment sentiment is rising among progressive Democrats and their allies, inside and outside Congress, though union presidents have been silent about Trump’s latest rants and tweets. But Clayola Brown of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Rev. Terry Melvin of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists jointly slammed Trump after the Oval Office occupant’s comments about “s—hole countries.”

“Trump is a gangster,” John Bachtell, then Communist Party chairman, said in a keynote address to the party’s recent centennial convention in Chicago, even before the latest Trump tweets. “He belongs in prison. Convincing House Democrats to open an impeachment investigation is important. He’s an authoritarian who is daily assaulting democracy and the truth.”

“The U.S. is now a stain on the world,” Brown and Melvin said in their earlier comments. “This president has eroded our standing with the world and is polarizing the populace. He is dangerous, racist, and a misogynist. We denounce this president and his racist ways, and we call upon the Republican Party to publicly denounce this hate-mongering or suffer the consequence of being considered like him.”

“House Democrats have the opportunity to show they are moral leaders by voting to move forward immediately with Rep. Green’s articles of impeachment,” said Credo Action co-director Heidi Hess. She urged Credo members to e-mail their lawmakers to impeach Trump.

“Donald Trump is a racist who repeatedly abused the powers of the presidency to harm Black and brown communities and to make a quick buck for billionaires off the backs of working families. Impeachment proceedings must start immediately to protect our country’s values and our families’ lives,” Hess said. The ACLU added of Trump’s tweets, rants, and raves: “This is racism, plain and simple.”

At least 84 House Democrats, including the four women Trump verbally assaulted—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City, Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis, Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, and Ayanna Presley of Boston—support impeaching Trump.

“I was elected to fight for #13thDistrictStrong—and that means holding this admin accountable and supporting an impeachment inquiry into this lawless president,” Tlaib tweeted. “Was proud and honored to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my sisters, my colleagues, my squad against his hate.” “The Squad” is the nickname the four, two of them Democratic Socialists and two of them the first-ever Muslim-American women in Congress, gave themselves.

“Because I love my country, I rise…to ask a question of all people of good will,” Green told his colleagues. “What do you do when the leader of the free world, when the leader of the country that extols liberty and justice for all—government of the people, by the people, for the people, all persons are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights—what do you do when the leader of the free world is a racist? What do you do?

“Well, here is what you do: You file a resolution, a resolution condemning the president for racist comments directed at members of Congress. What do you do? You file articles of impeachment impeaching the President of the United States of America.

“These two things are not mutually exclusive. We can condemn for the comments that have been made, and we can impeach for the harm the comments are causing to our society.”

Trump, Green’s impeachment articles say, has “sown seeds of discord among the people of the United States” by fanning racial tensions and “brought the high office of president of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute.” His impeachment articles charge Trump with “high crimes and misdemeanors” for doing so.

They also call Trump unfit for office because he does not “ensure domestic tranquility” and “promote the general welfare,” as the U.S. Constitution demands.

While Green and his allies push impeachment, the GOP, kowtowing to Trump, or afraid of retaliation from his base at the polls, doesn’t. Only four Republicans joined Rep. Justin Amash, Ind-Mich., and 235 Democrats in the vote condemning Trump’s racist statements against the four women of color.

Green and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, called them on it.

“Those who tolerate bigotry perpetuate bigotry,” Green said.

“When will this president stop?” Bass asked. “This racist, bigoted, stereotyped assault on the four women was so degrading and despicable.” The four also receive death threats, she added.

“What makes me even sadder is that my Republican colleagues couldn’t call that”—Trump’s assault—“racism,” not even in private conversations, Bass noted.


CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

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