On Sunday, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney appeared on “Fox News Sunday” with host Chris Wallace.
During the segment, Wallace brought up the ongoing issue of impeachment with Mulvaney, claiming that a Republican insider told him that some in the party appear to be peeling away from the president:
WALLACE: There seems to be a growing number of Republicans in Congress who are, if not breaking with the president, distancing themselves from the president. You had Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader who wrote a scathing article about Syria this week.
[Wallace then quoted the McConnell op-ed: “Withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake and a strategic nightmare for our country.”]
WALLACE: House Republicans voted against the Trump policy in Syria 129-60, more than 2-1. And I talked to a very well-connected Republican in Washington this week, somebody whose name you would know well, who says that if the House votes to impeach and it gets to a trial in the Senate, there is now a 20 percent chance he believes – obviously, it’s just an estimate – now a 20% chance enough Republicans will vote with the Democrats to remove the president.
MULVANEY: Oh, that’s just absurd. But let’s deal with the issue of Syria.
WALLACE: No, let’s deal with the issue of whether Republicans – you’re losing your support.
MULVANEY: Same thing. This comment about a 20% chance, the person clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
But talk about the reaction of the Republicans and Democrats up on the Hill to the decision in Syria, [the] president knew that was going to happen. He recognizes the fact that it’s not a politically popular in this town to make the decision that he made to move the troops out of Syria. He ran on it. He told people he would do this if he won, and he’s doing it now because he won.
WALLACE: Forgive me for interrupting, we are running out of time, I just want to ask you, though – is there any concern that the president is losing those support of Republicans in Congress?
MULVANEY: No, the president is extraordinary popular back home, more popular in the swing districts now that impeachment has started.
WALLACE: I’m talking about here in Washington.
MULVANEY: Yes, but they have to go home eventually as well. So, no. Do I have to understand that there are certain folks, especially the neoconservative wing of the party, who are upset about the Syria decision? I absolutely do. The president knew that was going to happen. Again, elections have consequences on foreign policy. That’s where we started this conversation, and that thankfully they do.
The vote to which Wallace was referring took place on Wednesday. The House of Representatives voted 354 to 60 on H.J. Res. 77 to condemn and oppose the president’s foreign policy decision regarding Turkey and Syria. Of the 354 “yea” votes, 129 were Republicans.
Wallace’s source isn’t the first person to claim that a certain percentage of Senate Republicans might vote for impeachment.
On September 26, former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona told a crowd at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival that if the vote were anonymous, dozens of Senate Republicans would vote to impeach:
Somebody mentioned yesterday that if there were a private vote, [there] would be 30 Republican votes. That’s not true. There’d be at least 35 — or maybe more if it were a private vote, but that’s not possible.
The American public’s mood on impeachment appears to have changed markedly over the past several weeks.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted between September 24-26 asked: “As you may know, the first step toward removing a president from office is impeachment. Do you believe Congress should or should not begin impeachment proceedings to remove President Trump from office?”
43% of respondents said “yes,” while 43% said “no.” 13% were unsure.
According to a Gallup survey released on Wednesday, 52% of Americans want the president “impeached and removed from office” given “what [they] know at this point,” while 46% don’t want the president impeached and removed. 2% had “no opinion.” That’s a 7% swing since a Gallup asked a similar question in June.