Update: The House overwhelmingly voted to table Houston congressman Al Green’s resolution to impeach President Donald Trump. The vote was 332-95. Though all 95 votes to move forward on impeachment came from Democrats, 137 sided with Republicans to quash the effort. The last time Green forced a vote a year and a half ago, the Republican-controlled House saw 66 Democrats voting to bring articles of impeachment against Trump. In that sense, Green made some modest progress—roughly 40 percent of Democratic members are now on the record supporting an impeachment inquiry. On the other hand, the vote has revealed fissures in the caucus between progressives who are eager to take maximal action to investigate and punish Trump and more moderate types who fear impeachment is a distraction or even a gift to the president.
“In my opinion, it didn’t fail,” Green said after the vote, according to Roll Call. “In my opinion, we got 95 votes this time, 66 the last time. So that’s a plus. But whether we get 95 or five, the point is we have to make a statement.”
Of the thirteen Texas Democrats in the House, eight members voted to support impeachment: Lloyd Doggett of Austin, Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, Filemon Vela Jr. of Brownsville, Veronica Escobar of El Paso, Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, Sylvia Garcia of Houston, Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, and Green. The remaining Democrats—Lizzie Fletcher of Houston, Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen, Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Colin Allred of Dallas, and Marc Veasey of Fort Worth—voted to table the measure. No Texas Republican, including Trump critic Will Hurd, supported Green’s effort.
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In a statement, Doggett said he wasn’t eager to open an impeachment inquiry but considered it “the only effective response given Trump’s lawless, total-obstruction policy.” He added: “We’re called on to do more than just consider the politics of the moment: We’re called to defend our Constitution. Each day Donald Trump provides more evidence that he is totally unfit to be president.”
Green wanted an up-or-down vote on impeachment, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instead forced a procedural vote on whether to table (read: kill) the impeachment resolution.
Green’s articles of impeachment focus on Trump’s racial divisiveness and the Texan moved to act after the president’s attack on the four female members of color Sunday. He said that the vote on impeachment was a “natural follow-on” to the House vote Tuesday condemning Trump’s racist tweets, a vote that was largely on party lines with only four Republicans—Will Hurd among them—joining Democrats.
Original: Usually a soft-spoken lawmaker, Congressman Al Green, D-Houston, is launching his third formal effort to impeach President Donald Trump after he targeted four congresswomen with racist tweets on Sunday. Green announced today he would again force a House vote on the president’s impeachment by the end of July.
“The President of the United States is a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, as well as an invidious prevaricator,” Green said Monday. “To say that Donald John Trump is unfit for the Office of the President of the United States is an understatement.”
Green has twice before secured impeachment votes, in 2017 and again in 2018, losing by a wide margin each time in what was then a Republican-controlled House. In January 2018, 66 Democrats voted for impeachment. Green told Texas Monthly that it was “a lonely mission.”
But Democrats now control the House, and younger, progressive members are clashing with their leadership over impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argues that the Republican-controlled Senate would never convict Trump even if the House successfully impeached the president, making the process futile.
Green counters that the stakes are too high to get hung up on the political machinations of the day. “So we have to wait until we get a Senate that agrees before the House will act?” he said. “That’s not the way the framers of the Constitution intended for the system to function. They gave the House the authority to impeach, and then the Senate, with the chief justice of the Supreme Court presiding, can make a decision about whether the president will be condemned. We have to do our job. And then we’ll see what the Senate will do.“
The vote in the House, Green said, “will be a vote of conscience. And on these kinds of votes, we let people vote their convictions and their conscience.”
There are now more than eighty House Democrats who have said publicly they support impeaching Trump, including five Texans—Lloyd Doggett of Austin, who was the most recent to announce his decision; Joaquin Castro of San Antonio; Veronica Escobar of El Paso; Filemon Vela of Brownsville and Green. (There is one independent, former GOP representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who also supports impeachment.)
Green told Texas Monthly a few weeks ago that he was poised to force a vote again on impeachment, but wasn’t sure when he would act. Then came Trump’s tweets telling four freshmen Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to the countries they came from. After an outcry from Democrats, Trump followed up on Monday, saying the four women should apologize to him for the terrible things they’d said about him.
Green hastily called a press conference Monday in Houston. “I believe there is a moral imperative to look racism, bigotry, misogyny, and hate in the face and rebuke it; to convey to our children that this type of behavior is unacceptable and that these beliefs are not welcome in the United States of America,” Green said at the press conference.