Is Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Comment Part Of A Broader Strategy?

Speaker Pelosi raised eyebrows when she appeared to rule out impeaching President Trump. But it could be part of a broader strategy.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi applauding President Trump during the State of the Union – February 5, 2019. (AP)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi applauding President Trump during the State of the Union – February 5, 2019. (AP)

Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post made waves. Aside from claiming President Trump isn’t fit for office “ethically” “intellectually” or “curiosity-wise,” Pelosi’s comment about impeachment is drawing the most attention:

I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.

This understandably received widespread reaction from both sides of the aisle, with many calling it an outright dismissal of the prospect of impeachment proceedings. But Pelosi is not known for throwing out words thoughtlessly, so it might not be that simple. She could be ruling out impeachment altogether, or Pelosi may be:

  • Trying to appear measured and get Trump to reduce his discussions of impeachments.
  • Making an effort to quell the “Democrats are overreaching” narrative that has already begun to appear in mainstream media after House Democrats recently requested documents from Trump associates and organizations.
  • Giving her future self the ability to appear as if her mind has been swayed by evidence. She can then say something along the lines of “As I’ve said in the past, I’m against impeachment, but the evidence is just way too overwhelming to not act upon…”

It’s important to point out that public opinion on impeachment has fluctuated since the new Democratic Congress has taken power. In December 2018, 60% of voters wanted Trump to be impeached or censured but this month a Quinnipiac poll found that 59% of respondents do not want impeachment proceedings to begin now.

President Trump has long used the prospect of impeachment as a method to motivate his base to rally behind him. Trump has pounced on Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s “we’re gonna impeach the motherfucker” comment and has tried to pan all Democratic investigations as politically motivated (in spite of the mounting evidence of corruption.)

Perhaps Nancy Pelosi is taking all of these factors into consideration as she awaits more evidence to make the case to the public. Ultimately, the decision to impeach Presiden Trump will fall on House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who backed Pelosi’s statement. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has also echoed Pelosi’s sentiment. Although removal from office in the Senate is a long shot at the moment due to Trump’s Republican support, many see Impeachment in the House as a constitutional necessity to rebuke a historically corrupt president. Only time will tell how this plays out, but with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report coming soon, the Southern District of New York’s investigations ongoing, and the numerous other corruption probes plaguing Trump, this is far from the end of the impeachment conversation.

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Opinion // Donald Trump / House Democrats / Impeachment / Nancy Pelosi