A lawmaker who has been a key defender of Donald Trump said Friday that House Republicans are preparing as though Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s team will launch a second impeachment of the president next week.
“I am not thinking months ahead. I am thinking days ahead,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said in in an interview with Just the News shortly after emerging from an impeachment preparation call with other GOP colleagues. “And I believe that in the coming days, Democrats are going to bring articles of impeachment to the floor of the Congress, and that I will, again, be defending against them.”
Gaetz told the John Solomon Reports podcast he believes that Democrats are using Wednesday’s tragedy at the Capitol to lobby for impeachment to appease a left-wing of their party that is increasingly restless with Joe Biden, his appointees and the likelihood that a narrowly-divided Congress may be unable to deliver on Democrats’ boldest promises to progressives. He said impeachment is not warranted based on the evidence.
“It’s certainly not the actions of the president,” Gaetz said. “The president explicitly called for protesters to be peaceful in his remarks at the White House. But the hatred of President Trump is the unifying feature of today’s Democratic Party. And though he came out and said, we’re going to have a peaceful transition of power to divided government, that, you know, while he certainly didn’t concede that he fairly lost the election, he understood that Joe Biden would become the president United States. They are going to need to continue to attack him and malign him, probably through his last days in office as president.”
“I think that they’re going to try to use an impeachment vote as early as next week, in order to try to keep together a coalition that is otherwise very tenuous,” he also said.
Pelosi said Friday she is prepared to launch impeachment next week, even though Trump has fewer than two weeks left in office, if Vice President Mike Pence does not remove the president first under the 25th Amendment, a move Cabinet officials say is not going to happen since the president is healthy. She blamed Trump for inciting Wednesday’s tragedy at the Capitol.
Pelosi’s effort purportedly could begin as early as Monday.
Gaetz said he was talking to other members to prepare a defense of Trump because impeachment was becoming more likely.
“We are now having to frame out the impeachment defense because we believe that Nancy Pelosi will will use the final days of the Trump administration to further divide the country, to further malign a person who is is a great president,” he said.
Gaetz has long been one of Trump’s most ardent and colorful defenders, including during last year’s impeachment proceedings that ended in acquittal. On Wednesday night, he got an ovation from GOP colleagues for a floor speech he gave that accused Democrats of hypocritically condemning Wednesday’s violence at the Capitol while excusing earlier rioting across the country.