California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock said Wednesday that he resisted his party’s effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas because it would have reduced the use of Congress’ biggest punishment. can impose.
“It lowers the standard for impeachment to such a point that it will become a constant feature of our national life whenever the White House is held by one party and the Congress by another,” McClintock told the Times on Wednesday. “This is exactly what the American founders feared, and that’s why they took great care to specify narrow limits on its use.”
The failure of Tuesday night’s vote, by a vote of 214 to 216, was a resounding setback for House Republicans, who had announced plans to impeach Mayorkas since taking control of the chamber last year .
A staunch Elk Grove conservative, McClintock is known as a constitutional originalist willing to break with his party when he sees fit. This includes support for marijuana legalization and opposition to the Republican Party’s 2017 tax bill because it reduced the popular state and local tax deduction, also known as SALT.
“I’ve learned over the years that if you want to be an exception, you better be sure you’re right, and I took the time and I’m sure I’m right,” he said. he declared on Wednesday.
McClintock explained his reasoning in a 10 page memo early Tuesday before the impeachment proceedings collapsed.
In the memo, he said the two articles of impeachment “fail to identify an implied crime that Mayorkas committed” and “in fact…stretch and distort the Constitution in order to hold the administration accountable for the extension and distortion of the law.
The articles accuse the head of Homeland Security of failing to properly enforce the nation’s immigration laws and abusing the public trust.
Republicans blame him for ending immigration policies in place under the Trump administration and adopting new immigration policies under President Biden that they say have encouraged more people to come to the states -United.
The White House has argued that a Cabinet secretary should not be removed over policy disagreement and that existing policies address immigration within the budget approved by Congress.
McClintock says new laws or more money won’t help and that if voters aren’t happy with immigration policy, they should give Republicans control of government.
“This problem will not be solved by passing bills that will not be signed, nor laws that will not be enforced, nor funds that will be used only to admit illegal aliens and not to deport them,” he said. he declared. “And this will not be solved by replacing one left-wing official with another.”
The failure of the impeachment vote Mayorkas was a surprisecaused by a combination of GOP absences from the floor Tuesday, “no” votes from four Republicans and the unexpected arrival of a shoeless, scrub-clad Democrat fresh from surgery in a local hospital.
One of the GOP votes against impeachment was a tactical move by Rep. Blake Moore of Utah, vice chair of the House Republican Conference. If a member of management votes no, they can return to the issue at a later date.
Louisiana President Mike Johnson stressed Wednesday that while the failure was a setback, he planned to renew efforts to remove Mayorkas.
“Democracy is complicated. We live in a time of divided government. We have a razor-thin margin here and every vote counts,” Johnson said. “We will adopt these articles of impeachment. We’ll do it in the next round.
Another Republican opposed to impeachment, Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, was pressured to change his mind as the vote took place.
McClintock said House leadership and fellow Republican lawmakers have not put similar pressure on him.
“They have all been very respectful and recognize that the position I have taken is in favor of our Constitution and the process that allows this government to function,” he told the Times.
Yet he was criticized after the vote by far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who had brought the articles of indictment.
“He’s not upholding his oath of office,” she said of McClintock. “He needs to take courage and read the room. The coin is our country and the American people are fed up. … He has to do the right thing.”
In an interview with C-SPAN on Wednesday, McClintock fired back.
“Instead of reading the room, maybe I would suggest she read the Constitution that she took an oath to support and defend,” he said of Greene. “The Constitution very clearly sets out the grounds for impeachment. “It would significantly weaken these arguments and set a precedent that could backfire on conservatives on the Supreme Court or in a future Republican administration once Democrats take control of Congress.”
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