With just two months remaining before the midterm elections, Democrats generally have no interest in talking about presidential impeachment. At times, however, it seems Donald Trump wants to talk about little else.
In a Fox News interview two weeks ago, the president warned, “I’ll tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor.”
A week later, the Washington Post reported that Trump “has consulted his personal attorneys about the likelihood of impeachment proceedings.” Rudy Giuliani, one of the president’s defense lawyers, added, “We’ve talked a lot about impeachment at different times.”
Last night, at his latest campaign rally in Montana, Trump’s focus again shifted to the threat of congressional punishment.
“This election, you aren’t just voting for a candidate, you are voting for which party controls Congress,” he said just before bringing up what he called “the impeachment word.”
Then, with the crowd at the Rimrock Auto Arena here rapt, he went on an extended riff on calls for his impeachment and removal from office. He said Democrats want to get rid of him regardless of whether he’s done anything to merit that sanction.
“It doesn’t matter, you will impeach him!” Trump exclaimed, impersonating Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. “I say how do you impeach someone who is doing a great job that hasn’t done anything wrong.”
He went on to tell his supporters that if he’s impeached, “it’s your fault, because you didn’t go out to vote. OK? You didn’t go out to vote. You didn’t go out to vote. That’s the only way it could happen.”
It’s almost as if he’s preoccupied with the subject.
Maybe the pressure is starting to get to him. Maybe Trump is genuinely afraid. But part of the problem may also be the president’s discomfort with public attitudes on the subject.
Let’s not forget that it was just last week that the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll found that a plurality of Americans (49%) “favor Congress initiating impeachment proceedings against the president.”
I guess they were unpersuaded by the idea that “everybody would be very poor.”
Postscript: Just as an aside, I have a hunch Trump doesn’t know that impeachment does not, in fact, remove a president from office. As we recently discussed, it’s the political equivalent of an indictment, which initiates a Senate trial. Bill Clinton, for example, was impeached, but he nevertheless served two full terms.