Adams, Butterfield Support Impeachment of Pres. Trumpby Cash Michaels, Contributing writer September 6, 2017
Now that Congress is back in session, there are plenty of issues that lawmakers must address, including raising the national debt ceiling; financial relief for Texas after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey; and paying for that wall Pres. Trump still insists Mexico will ultimately underwrite…one way or another.
But amid that spoken agenda, is intense behind-the-scenes strategizing on the part of the 49-member Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to have Republican President Donald J. Trump impeached.
“When members return to Congress in September, the CBC will have a robust discussion on #Impeachment,” an August 22nd tweet from the CBC announced.
Impeaching a US president is the process in which a legislative body (constitutionally the US House) formally levels serious charges (indictments) against a sitting commander-in-chief. It is the first step towards the removal of a president from office. If a president is to be removed (or effectively convicted of said charges), then the US Senate votes accordingly. The most recent president to be impeached was Bill Clinton in December 1998, but the Senate acquitted Clinton in February 1999.
While things went sour fast between the CBC and Pres. Trump shortly after he took office in January, it was Trump’s moral equivocation between armed white supremacists and mostly unarmed counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va. on August 12th – a violent confrontation which resulted in the alleged murder of a counter-protester with a car driven by a neo-Nazi – that convinced members of the CBC, along with many Democrat and Republican colleagues, that neither Trump, nor key officials in his administration, possessed the moral standing to lead the nation.
And several days later, when the president doubled-down on his position by calling white nationalists “fine people,” the outrage from the CBC could not be contained.
“You can make an argument based on pure competency and fitness to serve, and that’s the conversation the caucus will have,” CBC Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), told reporters during a teleconference two weeks ago, noting that the CBC was also committed to ridding white supremacists from the federal government, and certainly from the Trump administration.
“I never thought I would see the day when the president of the United States would openly defend white supremacists,” Rep. Richmond later said in a statement. “I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to hold this president accountable.”
North Carolina’s two black congresspeople were also outraged, and joined the CBC chair in saying so.
“President Trump has tragically become the divisive demagogue we feared he would be,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) in an August 16th statement, in which she also called Trump’s comments “erratic and despicable.”
“Upon election, he took a sacred oath to represent every American, regardless of race, religion, or creed yet sadly President Trump has failed at this most basic responsibility. Instead of being a steady leader in a time of national crisis, he has recklessly turned to the podium to once again make a mockery of the Presidency and of the citizens he swore to serve.”
“We can no longer justify or tolerate these actions,” Rep. Adams continued. “I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do what this President has failed to do. It is time for us to stand united and resolute in our efforts to fight racism, bigotry, and hate. In the absence of a true leader, Congress must step up and defend our progress, unify our nation, and hold this administration accountable.”
Rep. Adams’ Tar Heel colleague, Rep. G, K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), the immediate past chairman of the CBC, was equally disturbed.
“I was disappointed that President Trump waited two days before specifically condemning the Charlottesville terror attack and the violence perpetrated by white supremacist groups,” Butterfield said in an August 15th statement. “His failure to not immediately and powerfully condemn these terror groups by name was a clear message that he is supportive of or indifferent to their cause based on ideology or politics, either of which is unacceptable for an American president.”
Members of the CBC had met with Trump in March after he was inaugurated, but in June, they decided to cancel a followup meeting, saying that not only did they not see any evidence that he had acted on any of the important issues they had initially discussed, but that there was evidence of White House policies that would “affirmatively hurt Black communities.”
One such example was a followup conference the president is planning to have with the presidents and chancellors of historically black colleges and universities soon. The first was held last February.
Both representatives Richmond, and Adams, who is the co-chair of the HBCU Bi-partisan Caucus in Congress, asked Trump to cancel that gathering in the aftermath of his controversial comments about Charlottesville.
Richmond said the president’s remarks showed he has little concern for the welfare of black students or their communities.
“Not only do I think it should be postponed, it shouldn’t have been happening in the first place,” Richmond told reporters. “This White House isn’t serious about improving our HBCUs…They brought all those HBCU presidents to town, they took a picture in the Oval Office, and then they did nothing.”
Adams had equal condemnation.
“HBCU leaders came to the White House in February and presented a substantive and well-thought-out agenda with specific action-items for the administration to pursue immediately. Almost 180 days later, nothing has happened and no response has been given. It would be more productive to hear from the President directly or from his Secretary of Education about what progress they are making on the HBCUs’ request before asking Presidents to come back to Washington for another photo-op.
Rep. Adams added, “I call on the President and [Education] Secretary DeVos to postpone this year’s conference until a serious effort has been made to advance issues important to HBCUs and their students.”
Apparently, due to a large number of cancelled appearances by HBCU officials, the conference, while is still scheduled, has been “downsized,” published reports say.
There were Democratic Party calls for Pres. Trump to be shown the door long before Chairman Richmond and the CBC joined the fray. Both Texas Rep. Al Green and California Congresswoman Maxine Waters (who recently spoke to the Durham Committee of the Affairs of Black People) have called for the impeachment of Trump (Green has actually drafted articles of impeachment on charges of obstruction), based largely on allegations of campaign collusion with the Russians stemming from the 2016 presidential campaign. An ongoing US Justice Dept. investigation is still probing those allegations.
“Am I concerned about high crimes and misdemeanors? Absolutely,” CBC Chair Richmond told reporters two weeks ago. “Am I concerned about this president’s fitness to serve? Absolutely.”
When asked last week if they agreed with their CBC chairman about the need for Pres. Trump’s impeachment, Congresswoman Adams said, “Like many people, I, too, am beginning to question if this President has the moral compass and capacity to lead.”
And Rep. Butterfield added, “It seems like a daily occurrence that Democrats, Republicans and the entire world are shocked by the president’s impulsive, divisive and dangerous behavior. “
“As investigations move forward regarding the Trump Administration’s ties to the Russian government,” Rep. Butterfield continued, “the evidence of unlawful collusion and the need for removal of this President appear to increase by the day.”