In a Twitter Spaces event earlier this week, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) explained to his followers that the real purpose of Republicans impeaching President Joe Biden wouldn’t be to hold him accountable for supposed wrongdoing, but rather to make him look bad in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.
The U.S. Constitution states that presidents and vice presidents can be removed from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” the latter referring to actions that constitute an abuse of office. Although Republicans in Congress have indicated that they’ll seek to impeach Biden as soon as this fall, they have so far failed to provide evidence to suggest Biden’s actions fall under the constitutional standards for removing him from office, with many in the party expressing doubt that a push for impeachment could be justified.
While the case for impeaching Biden is flimsy, Gaetz explained on Monday evening that the point of going after the president in such a way isn’t actually to remove him from office, but rather to give Biden an added obstacle prior to (or possibly during) the 2024 election season.
Gaetz recognized that any impeachment effort he and fellow Republicans pushed would be doomed to fail. “The purpose of that impeachment, from my standpoint, is not to force a vote that loses,” Gaetz explained. “It’s to put on a trial in the Senate, and by the way, not for the sake of conviction.”
Due to the current Democratic Party majority in the Senate, an impeachment of Biden would never pass, he added. “There’s no conviction and removal of Joe Biden coming on impeachment. I know that. You know that,” Gaetz said.
The purpose of the impeachment to me is to use the Senate as the stage, but they’re not the jury. The jury is the American people. … [An impeachment trial] will not result in a conviction, but the true verdict can still be rendered by the American people.
The sentiment that Gaetz expressed — that an impeachment would serve a political end — contradicts Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s (R-California) assertion that any impeachment effort against Biden wouldn’t be a means to help Republicans politically but to hold the president accountable for purported lawbreaking or unethical abuses of power.
Committee hearings that appear to be gearing up to call for impeachment do indeed appear to be displaying political motivations, as they have so far lacked much in terms of evidence of presidential malfeasance, The New Republic’s Tori Otten reported.
“House Republicans have mobilized multiple committees to go after the Biden family. There has yet to be any proof of wrongdoing,” Otten wrote in a column this week, “but Republicans have used the investigations as excuses to trash Biden, attack policies they don’t like such as immigration, and share his son’s nude photos.”
MSNBC’s Steve Benen agrees, noting that Gaetz isn’t interested in upholding the standards for using impeachment as a vehicle to protect the country’s best interests.
“As Gaetz sees it, whether the impeachment process works as designed is irrelevant,” Benen said. “Rather, what GOP members of Congress should do, according to the Florida Republican, is use the process to sully Biden ahead of his re-election bid.”
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