Yesterday, Republican Congressman Justin Amash called for Donald Trump’s impeachment. This morning, Trump significantly amplified the story by attacking Amash over it. This is the kind of situation where every other Republican in the House and Senate has to decide whether to pick a side, or lay low and try to stay out of it.
Here’s what we’ve seen thus far: Republican Senator Mitt Romney appeared on the Sunday morning talk show circuit and tried to tepidly split the difference by praising Amash’s courage for speaking up, while disagreeing with Amash’s conclusions. This is no surprise. Romney has always said nothing out of both sides of his mouth, in the hope that his vapidness would be mistaken for reasonableness.
But beyond Romney, just about no one in the Republican House or Senate is picking a side. We weren’t expecting any of them to publicly side with Amash – at least not yet. There are a number of House Republicans in a similar situation to Amash: more popular in their own district than Trump is, and sufficiently to the right of their own district that a far-right primary challenge wouldn’t hurt them. But they’re likely to wait to see how this plays out for Amash before deciding which side they’re best off joining. But the silence from Trump’s allies today is deafening.
Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats just gained the ability to argue that every investigative and impeachment-leaning move they make is now bipartisan, thanks to Amash. If Donald Trump’s GOP allies in the House and Senate want to quash that narrative, now would be the time for them to condemn Amash for talking impeachment. Yet as of right now at least, none of them have done so. Maybe that’ll change as the week goes on. But today is a day where Trump desperately needs the GOP to swiftly and publicly side with him over Amash – and it’s just not happening right now.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report