An unsettling number of congressional Republicans have raised the prospect of trying to impeach President Joe Biden if the GOP takes back control of Congress. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas suggested a few months ago that such a move is actually likely if his party controls the House next year.
It was against this backdrop that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, perhaps fearing an election-year backlash, poured cold water on the idea earlier this month.
The GOP leader’s comments were not well received by his ostensible allies: The Hill reported that McCarthy faced “grumbles from right” over his remarks about presidential impeachment.
But what if, instead of trying to impeach the president, Republicans tried to impeach a member of Biden’s cabinet? Axios reported:
The largest body of conservative House members — the Republican Study Committee, which represents more than 150 members — is laying the groundwork to push for the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Many committee members already want to impeach him, according to a member of the group. A letter 133 members sent Mayorkas on Monday — led by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the committee chairman, and Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), the Border Security Caucus co-chair — sets the predicate for impeachment even without mentioning the word.
And while McCarthy seemed wholly uninterested in impeaching Biden, the minority leader said something quite different this week during a photo-op at the U.S./Mexico border. Referring to Mayorkas, the top Republican in the House said, “This is his moment in time to do his job. But at any time if someone is derelict in their job, there is always the option of impeaching somebody.”
It’s against this backdrop that Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona has already unveiled an impeachment resolution against the Homeland Security secretary — which has picked up 30 GOP co-sponsors, including a new one yesterday.
As for the obvious question — Why in the world would the House impeach Mayorkas in the absence of scandals and/or evidence of wrongdoing? — the Republican line appears to be that they disapprove of the way the Biden administration is enforcing immigration laws.
At this point, the Homeland Security secretary probably isn’t overly concerned with his professional prospects. For one thing, there’s no guarantee that Republicans will take back the House. For another, even if Mayorkas were eventually impeached as part of some kind of partisan stunt, it’s difficult to imagine the idea of 67 senators voting to remove him from office.
But when thinking about what a GOP majority might do with power handed to them by voters, we can apparently add this impeachment scheme to the list.
Postscript: For those wondering about the historical precedent, only one cabinet secretary has ever been impeached. In 1876, Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached — after leaving office — over alleged bribes. He was later acquitted by the Senate.