House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy prepares to speak to the media after unexpectedly dropping out of consideration to be the next Speaker of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8, 2015.
Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

GOP offers an unpersuasive response to new impeachment rhetoric

Updated

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) co-wrote a fairly compelling op-ed for the Detroit Free Press yesterday, making the case for impeaching Donald Trump. As it turns out, the Michigan Democrat was a little less guarded on the subject at an event last night.

Hours after being sworn in, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., told a cheering crowd of supporters on Thursday that the Democrats “are gonna impeach the motherf—er” in a video posted online.

Tlaib, a Detroit native who is one of the first two Muslim women and the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, is seen recalling her son’s response to her election.

“When your son looks at you and said, ‘Mamma, look you won, bullies don’t win,’” she tells a cheering crowd. “And I said, baby, they don’t, because we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf—er.”

A variety of Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have taken some cautious steps to distance themselves from Tlaib’s comments.

What surprised me, though, was the GOP’s reaction. I assumed Republicans would seize on the push among some Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Instead, some in the party appear focused on accusing Rashida Tlaib of having a potty mouth.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) boasted to reporters this morning, “You know what happened in the last Congress, when Republicans were in the majority? You know what our freshman class did? It put a resolution together to actually work with one another, to not use foul language…. This is the difference with this new Congress and it’s wrong.”

Really? Donald Trump’s party is prepared to take a bold stand in support of a civil public discourse?

I seem to recall the president running for office using quite a bit of “foul language,” while being cheered on by Republican voters wearing “F**k Your Feelings” shirts at Trump rallies.

I also recall the House Republican conference meeting in 2017, when then-Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) rallied her colleagues to take health care from millions by declaring, “Let’s get this f**king thing done!”

Reasonable people can – and perhaps should – have a discussion about the merits of the president’s impeachable offenses. But for Kevin McCarthy to cheer on Trump, while looking for the fainting couch after hearing a Democrat use profanity, is awfully tough to take seriously.

For his part, the president argued this morning that he shouldn’t be impeached because he’s popular and successful. Putting aside the fact that he’s neither popular nor successful, Trump still seems to believe that impeachment is reserved for disliked and unaccomplished presidents. That’s really not how the process works.