President Donald Trump sought to heighten the sense of urgency for his base Thursday when he told supporters that if he is impeached, “it’s your fault, ‘cause you didn’t go out to vote.”
Trump has discussed the prospect of being impeached before, but his comments come after a whirlwind week raised fresh questions about his fitness for office and control over his administration.
“You didn’t go out to vote – that’s the only way it could happen,” Trump said during a rally in Billings, Montana.
“I’ll be the only President in history they’ll say: ‘What a job he’s done! By the way, we’re impeaching him,’” Trump said.
“This election, you aren’t just voting for a candidate, you are voting for which party controls Congress,” the President said. “Very important thing. Very important thing.”
A new book by Bob Woodward and an anonymous op-ed by a senior Trump administration official in The New York Times paint a picture of an administration that distrusts its own boss and goes out of its way at times to thwart his agenda.
Asked by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt about whether Trump can be indicted, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that the Justice Department “has taken the position … that the appropriate remedy for presidential misbehavior is impeachment,” though he added that he is “not an expert on this.”
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a frequent Trump critic and potential 2020 candidate, said earlier Thursday that it’s time to remove Trump from office.
“If senior administration officials think the President of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment,” Warren told CNN.
Meanwhile, Democrats’ odds of taking back the House have improved as Democratic candidates continue to overperform in special election contests. Impeaching Trump has been a rallying cry among the progressive base, though party leaders have frequently sought to tamp down such talk.
Trump warns of precedent
At Thursday’s rally – where Trump was campaigning on behalf of Matt Rosendale, who’s challenging Democratic Sen. Jon Tester for a Senate spot – Trump also railed against Democrats, like Rep. Maxine Waters of California, who have made impeaching him a central part of their political identity. He engaged in a mock conversation, playing both the role of supporter and defender, during one portion of the rally.
“They like to use the ‘impeach’ word,” Trump said. ” ‘Impeach Trump.’ Maxine Waters: ‘We will impeach him.’ ‘But he didn’t do anything wrong.’ ‘It doesn’t matter. We will impeach him. We will impeach.’ “
“But I say, how do you impeach somebody that’s doing a great job, that hasn’t done anything wrong?” Trump said. “Our economy is good. How do you do it? How do you do it? How do you do it?”
“‘We will impeach him!’” Trump shouted, “’But he’s doing a great job!’ ‘Doesn’t matter.’ Remember that line, ‘He’s doing a great job.’ That doesn’t matter. We’ll impeach him.’”
Trump later warned the United States would turn into a “third world country” because of the precedent his hypothetical impeachment would set.
“But let’s say a Democrat gets elected, and let’s say we have a Republican House. We will impeach that Democrat, right? And then a Republican. We won by a lot. We won by a hell of a margin,” Trump said.
“If the opposite party becomes president, every time before it even starts, before you’ve even found out whether or not he or she is going to do a great job, they’ll say, ‘We want to impeach him’ and you’ll impeach him,” Trump said. “It’s so ridiculous.”