Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) slammed House Democrats on Friday for having a different message behind closed doors than when they are speaking to the American people when discussing the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
“What’s so interesting about what the president is saying and what Republicans are saying is that it is the same thing we’ve been saying for months — there is nothing impeachable here, this is a witch hunt,” Gooden said during an appearance on Fox News. “But when you look at the other side, Democrats are changing their tune as this goes. At first, it was a quid pro quo, then it’s bribery, then it’s extortion.”
“And what is interesting to me also [is that] walking through the halls of Congress, Republicans are saying the same thing publicly that we’re saying privately. Our message is not changing,” he continued. “Democrats, on the other hand, publicly they’re saying ‘this is about the Constitution, this is about doing what’s right,’ [but] privately they’re saying ‘what’s the polling show, how are we going to convince the American people?'”
Accordingly, various polls conducted after nearly two full weeks of public hearings show that independent voters are souring on the idea of impeaching the president. A poll by Quinnipiac University shows only 45% support for impeachment and subsequently removing Trump from office, which is down three points from roughly a month ago. The same polls showed opposition increasing two points. At the same time, Trump’s approval ratings have remained relatively steady.
Earlier in November, reports emerged that Democrats changed their messaging strategy.
“[T]he Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee conducted focus groups in key House battlegrounds in recent weeks, testing messages related to impeachment,” The Washington Post reported. “Among the questions put to participants was whether ‘quid pro quo,’ ‘extortion,’ or ‘bribery’ was a more compelling description of Trump’s conduct.”
“According to two people familiar with the results, which circulated among Democrats this week, the focus groups found ‘bribery’ to be most damning,” the Post continued. “The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the results have not been made public.”
“You shouldn’t be having to convince the American people that impeaching the president is the right thing to do,” Gooden said. “They should follow the facts and Democrats are realizing that the polling numbers are not supporting them. They are also battling Thanksgiving and Christmas, people just aren’t in the mood for this at this time of the year.”
The Texas lawmaker further brushed off claims that Trump has been doing anything of concern, noting that his job as a member of Congress is to monitor if anyone has violated the United States Constitution.
“I’m part of Congress, but it’s not my job to approve or disapprove. It’s my job to make sure the Constitution is being followed and enforce the Constitution and that’s what my oath was,” Gooden said. “And what we in Congress are doing right now should be making sure that laws are being followed and that the president is following those laws. The president absolutely is.”
“What Democrats are talking about, what the media loves to harp on, is do you approve? Is what he said right? Should he have said that? It’s not the question here,” he continued. “The question is, is he breaking the law, which the president has not done.”