A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives shot down the first formal attempt to impeach President Donald Trump. The legislators voted to table the articles of impeachment introduced by Representative Al Green, a Democrat of Texas. One hundred and twenty-seven of the 194 Democrats in the House voted to table the resolution. Forcing a vote on the articles on Wednesday, Green claimed that the president’s actions in office have amounted to “high misdemeanours,” if not crimes. Green said that these misdemeanours stem from Trump’s “bigotry, hatred and hostility.”
In a letter to colleagues, Green wrote:
“The question isn’t whether we have a bigot as President, the question is: What are we going to do about it?”
Green added, “The answer is: Impeachment for high misdemeanours, which need not be a crime.”
Green's resolution was widely expected to fail a vote in the Republican-controlled body, even if it had made it to the floor. Impeachment requires a majority vote in the House and a two-thirds vote in the Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans. Green initially filed his articles of impeachment in October, but was convinced to drop the effort by Democrats. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) discouraged Democrats from supporting this most recent attempt, issuing a rare joint statement that "now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment."
While Hoyer and Pelosi said that Trump had "made statements and taken actions that are beyond the pale for most Americans," they called on Congress to instead focus on policy, such as the tax plan currently under consideration. “Congress faces a vast set of urgent, overdue priorities for the American people," they said. "Democrats are firmly focused on taking real, effective steps to improve the lives of hard-working Americans and defeating Republicans’ cruel barrage of attacks on the middle class."
Green accused Trump of associating with white supremacy and incitement of hate and hostility "on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, or sexual orientation." As evidence, he cited Trump's response to white supremacists at a rally in Charlottesville and his proposed travel ban for travellers from certain countries of which several have Muslim majorities.
Reading the articles of impeachment aloud on the floor, Green said that Trump had "sown discord among the people of the United States," and brought "contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute" on his office. "Therefore, Donald John Trump, by causing such harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be President, warrants impeachment, trial, and removal from office," he said.
Democratic Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee has also filed articles of impeachment against the president, but they have yet to be put to a vote. The articles accuse Trump of undermining the independence of the judiciary and the press, and obstructing justice by firing his FBI director. Cohen was in hot water earlier this year when he shouted down Star Parker -- a syndicated columnist and black pro-life leader. At a hearing on Capitol Hill, Cohen told Parker “You’re ignorant” and then demanded an apology.