Rumors have swirled over the past few days that moderate Democrats in Nancy Pelosi’s House caucus were beginning to get “cold feet” over the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Watching poll numbers swing in the wrong direction, these Democrats – many of whom were elected in districts that went for Trump in 2016 – are starting to worry that impeaching the president could spell doom for their reelection campaigns next year. And the first one to come out publicly against the proceedings is Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI).
On a Michigan radio show on Sunday, Lawrence told host Charlie LeDuff that she would like to see the House take a softer approach to President Trump’s Ukraine dealings.
“We are so close to an election. I will tell you, sitting here knowing how divided this country is, I don’t see the value of taking him out of office,” Lawrence said. “I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable.
“I want to censure. I want it on the record that the House of Representatives did their job and they told this president and any president coming behind him that this is unacceptable behavior and, under our Constitution, we will not allow it,” she continued.
Lawrence told the show that she would hold a “discussion with the party and with the caucus” about taking a different route.
Now, something has changed, because only a month or so ago, Lawrence told a Sirius XM show that she was on board with impeachment.
“I feel strongly that for my legacy, for my time in history, sitting here at this table with an oath of office to protect this country, to protect the democracy of the United States of America, I cannot sit silent, that I must move forward with this because this is egregious,” Lawrence said on October 4.
So…what changed? Clearly, Lawrence is not weighing the concerns of those swing-district Democrats who fear a voter revolt; she won in a Michigan district that went 60% for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and hasn’t put a Republican in Congress since the 1940s.
Well, perhaps Lawrence is one of the few Democrats with the sense to see that these charges against Trump are…well, a bit embellished. A slap on the wrist? Some negative political ads? Okay, that might make sense when we’re talking about the “crime” that Trump supposedly committed. But impeachment? For telling an ally to investigate corruption that just happens to implicate Joe Biden? That’s absurd, and Americans aren’t buying it. And neither, apparently, is Rep. Lawrence.
Time will tell if she is just the first of many dominoes to fall in Pelosi and Adam Schiff’s precariously-constructed impeachment game.