The only thing bipartisan about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has been the opposition. While not a single House Republican voted to move forward with the official inquiry, the same can’t be said for the other side of the aisle in voting against the move. Two Democratic representatives opposed the inquiry, and now, with Republicans still apparently unified against impeachment, one of those Democratic dissenters is explaining why he continues to oppose impeaching the president after the public hearings.
With the hearings having failed to move the needle with the public — in fact more polls show support for impeachment slipping than holding steady after the public testimony — USA Today published an interview Sunday with one of the two Democratic inquiry opposers, New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew.
In the interview, the congressman expressed a sentiment that will only make his fellow Democrats even more nervous as public support for impeachment wains: Trump’s actions involving Ukraine and a potential investigation into the corruption involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden are “unsavory” but not impeachable.
Of all the Democratic members of Congress, only Van Drew and Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson voted against the impeachment inquiry. After his fellow Democrats’ best efforts to make the case for impeachment to the American public, Van Drew revealed in the interview Sunday that his position hasn’t changed.
“While he considers the president’s actions on Ukraine ‘unsavory,’ the congressman said he has yet to learn of anything that would persuade him Trump did something to warrant removal from office,” USA Today’s Ledyard King reports. “No president has ever been removed from office, Van Drew, 66, points out. And to have a ‘small, elite group’ of lawmakers do so when an election is less than a year away seems to him to be not only unfathomable but un-American.”
“To some folks, that’s reminiscent of what was done to kings and queens many years ago,” Van Drew said. “Everything our country doesn’t stand for.”
While he dislikes Trump’s “rudeness,” Van Drew said, his “job isn’t really to like or dislike him.”
“My job is to exact as much goodwill and help for my district and for this nation and for this world that I possibly can while he’s president,” he explained.
Van Drew’s opposition to the impeachment inquiry has not gone unnoticed by President Trump, who tweeted out his past comments about the time and money his party had already wasted on their investigation.
“We’ve spent millions of dollars, in my opinion, tons of money, tons of time, tons of hurt, fracturing the nation apart. I haven’t seen this to be a good thing,” said the congressman in a quote tweeted out by Trump on Nov. 19.
Congressman Van Drew (D-NJ): We’ve spent millions of Dollars, in my opinion, tons of money, tons of time, tons of hurt, fracturing the Nation apart. I haven’t seen this to be a good thing.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2019
Van Drew’s “unsavory but not impeachable” stance is what Democrats have feared will be the takeaway from the widely panned hearings, which polls show have encouraged more people to oppose impeachment than support it.
Democrats have also been unsuccessful in winning over any Republicans, as King underscores in his report on the interview with Van Drew. “Potential GOP defectors, such as Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida and Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, have shown no inclination to support impeachment,” writes King, who quotes Hurd taking aim at the Democrats’ key allegations.
“I’ve not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion,” said Rep. Hurd, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.