One of the first House Democrats to call for President Trump‘s impeachment urged his colleagues on Wednesday to include instances of Trump’s actions and rhetoric inflaming racial tensions in any upcoming articles of impeachment.
Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) sent a memo to fellow lawmakers arguing that Trump’s “impeachable racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, transphobic, xenophobic language instigating enmity and inciting violence within our society” should be taken under consideration, as he has argued since backing impeachment in 2017.
Green, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, pointed to the House passage of a resolution in July condemning Trump’s tweets urging four female progressive freshman lawmakers to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
“Why should we pass a resolution condemning the president’s racist comments and then get back to racism as usual, where racism is more of a talking point than an action item?” he wrote.
Green previously forced three procedural votes on his articles of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting racial tensions: twice while Republicans controlled the House in 2017 and 2018, and most recently in July. All three efforts were unsuccessful.
In the most recent vote on July 17, a total of 95 Democrats voted in favor of Green’s effort. That vote came a week before former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress about his report on Russia’s election interference and Trump’s efforts to obstruct the investigation. At the time, most Democrats were not yet in favor of an impeachment inquiry.
Green’s most recent article of impeachment came after the House passage of the resolution defending freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) from Trump’s tweets.
His article stated that Trump “brought the high office of the President of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace, and disrepute, has sown seeds of discord among the people of the United States, has demonstrated that he is unfit to be President, and has betrayed his trust as President of the United States to the manifest injury of the people of the United States, and has committed a high misdemeanor in office.”
Green’s previous articles of impeachment pointed to, among other incidents, Trump dismissing African nations as “shithole countries” and deriding black football players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, as well as his equivocal response to racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
Many Democrats — particularly those in swing districts who were long reluctant to support an impeachment inquiry — want any articles of impeachment to be limited to Trump’s efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and unproven allegations that Ukraine was involved in 2016 election interference. Some also want articles of impeachment to include the instances of obstruction of justice outlined in Mueller’s report.
Green argued that Trump’s actions inflaming racial tensions should also be considered an impeachable abuse of power. He pointed to the tenth article of impeachment against former President Andrew Johnson in 1868, which cited his remarks blaming the “radical Congress” for “exciting that portion of the population, the black population, to arm themselves and prepare for the shedding of blood” in racial violence in New Orleans.
That article of impeachment stated that Johnson “has brought the high office of the President of the United States into contempt, ridicule and disgrace, to the great scandal of all good citizens” and therefore committed a high misdemeanor.
“To those who say that the House resolution condemning the President is enough, I say if impeachment is the remedy for invidious abuse of power related to Ukraine, it should be the remedy for invidious abuse of power related to racism in the United States. If impeachment was just for President Andrew Johnson’s racist actions, it’s just for President Donald Trump’s racist actions,” Green wrote.
“To those who say impeachment related to racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and transphobia ‘will tear this country apart because the time isn’t right for it,’ I say this willingness to take the path of least resistance means turning a blind eye to those who suffer daily from hate in all of its insidious forms,” he added.
Earlier Wednesday, Green blasted the House Judiciary Committee for not including any people of color on its panel of constitutional scholars serving as witnesses.
“It hurts my heart, Mr. Speaker, to see the Judiciary Committee hearing experts on the topic of impeachment, one of the seminal issues of this Congress. Hearing experts, Mr. Speaker, and not one person of color among the experts,” Green said during a speech on the floor.
“What subliminal message are we sending to the world when we have experts but not one person of color? Are we saying that there are no people of color who are experts on this topic of impeachment?” Green asked.