Earlier this week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wi) insisted to a reporter that Congressional Republicans would not be seeking impeachment if a Democratic President had done what Donald Trump has been accused of doing. Said the Speaker:
“No. I don’t think we would, actually. I don’t think that’s at all the case.”
But history tells a far different story.
When Barack Obama was President of these United States, the Republicans in Congress jumped on every chance they could find to suggest impeachment and removal from office. It didn’t matter what the President’s actions were. If the GOP didn’t like them, they were all over the media demanding impeachment. This was in spite of the fact that the U.S. Constitution allows for the impeachment of a President only for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Fox News, to no one’s surprise, backed the GOP every single time.
Here is a short, and incomplete, list of items for which Republicans on the hill wanted to impeach Democratic President Barrack Obama.
1. Bowe Bergdahl
When President Obama arranged the release of Sgt. Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban prisoners who had been held at Guantanamo Bay, conservatives went crazy.
Florida Republican Allen West wrote a blog post entitled “The Case For Impeachment Of Barack Hussein Obama.” He called the President a “traitor” for his action to free the young soldier.
2. Joe Sestak
This guy was a Democratic Congressman running in a primary against Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Sestak claimed that the Obama administration had offered him a White House job to prevent him from running against the long time Senate stalwart.
GOP Senator Darrell Issa claimed, on Fox News no less, that the job offer was undoubtedly “an impeachable offense.”
3. Stop That Obama Agenda
Back in 2011, the DOW Jones numbers took a major hit. The President had been pushing for Congress to raise the debt ceiling, and they’d gone along with him. Shortly after that, the market dropped by some 600 points.
Republican Representative Michael Burgess of Kentucky had voted with Obama. Then he faced a group of furious tea party members. When some of them urged him to push for impeachment of the President, Burgess agreed. He thought it would help to “tie up” Obama’s agenda, even though clearly there was no “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
4. That Immigration Policy
This one is very timely. Back in 2012, the Department of Homeland Security was told to pull back on a program in which federal agents were deputizing local police to assist in enforcing immigration policy. This came after the Supreme Court ruled that similar actions were illegal in Arizona.
Republican Senator Jon Kyl, of Arizona, stated on local radio that the decision could lead to the impeachment of Obama.
5. Don’t Forget Benghazi
Ah, Benghazi. What would Republicans have had to occupy themselves if not for this one embassy attack?
Claiming, over and over again, that the Obama administration was engaged in some kind of coverup of the events at the Benghazi embassy, the GOP talked impeachment. In fact, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Ut) told CNN that he wouldn’t rule out impeachment, although he had the good grace to say that wasn’t his “goal.”
6. Just Cuz We Wanna
And then there were the members of the Republican Party who went on the record with their dreams of impeaching President Obama for no apparent reason.
Take Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mi). Although he was a brand new, freshman member of Congress, he freely admitted to his constituents that his “dream come true” would be to write the articles of impeachment for Barack Obama.
Oh, he didn’t bother to cite any crimes, treason, or misdemeanors that he thought the freely elected President of the United States had committed. He didn’t need anything that specific.
He just came to Congress with an agenda. It wasn’t to deal with the deficit, to make the country safer, to work on healthcare or to improve foreign relations.
Nope. His “dream” was to impeach the President, without even specifying why.
So Just Stop, Paul Ryan
We don’t believe you, Speaker Ryan, when you tell us that the Republican Party wouldn’t be jumping out of their skins to impeach a Democratic President who threatens public officials on Twitter. We don’t believe that you’d refrain from impeaching a Democratic President who pressures the FBI, who has filled his administration with shady characters who lie about their Russian connections.
You would be rushing to impeach a Democrat who ignores the Russian attack on our election, who denies the findings of his own Department of Justice and who lies to the public about everything from his crowd size to the popular vote.
We don’t believe you, Mr. Speaker.
Watch the Young Turks covering the same issue.