WASHINGTON — House Democrats rejected an attempt Wednesday to force a vote on impeaching President Donald Trump, showing that anger and frustration over the president’s racist tweets and other actions have not yet convinced a majority to push for his removal.
By a vote of 332 to 95, lawmakers tabled the motion a day after a divided House passed a resolution, largely along party lines, that “strongly condemned” Trump for telling four liberal members of Congress, all women of color and all U.S. citizens, to leave the country.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., strongly backed that resolution, but she has pushed back against efforts to start impeachment proceedings against the president, in part because of concerns it would backfire against Democrats in the 2020 election.
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, had introduced the impeachment measure that calls Trump “unfit to be president” and asks for his removal.
Trump has “brought the high office of the President of the United States in contempt” and “sown seeds of discord among the people of the United States,” Green wrote. He cited Trump’s racist tweets telling the four female lawmakers to “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came.”
The House could have voted to proceed with the measure, formally opening a debate on the floor over whether the president should be impeached, but Pelosi and other Democrats helped block the effort.
Green previously had tried, and failed, to persuade his fellow lawmakers to impeach in floor speeches twice before. But Tuesday’s motion was significant because it comes as impeachment is gaining traction among some Democrats and emerging as a divisive issue in the party.
More than 80 lawmakers — including 17 California Democrats — have called for an impeachment inquiry into Trump despite the objections of some party leaders.
They include Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from Maine’s 1st District, who opposed tabling the measure on Wednesday after voting the same way on a similar Green proposal in 2017. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from the 2nd District, voted to table it.
Pelosi has warned that an impeachment probe could draw attention away from Democrats’ policy goals, energize Trump supporters and ultimately be thwarted by the Republican-controlled Senate.
But Green argued that, even if it won’t ultimately succeed, Democrats have a moral obligation to try to remove Trump from office.
His resolution does not address any of the findings of the Russia investigation led by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who uncovered multiple episodes where Trump tried to limit or block the probe.
Many Democrats have accused the president of trying to obstruct justice, and Mueller is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill next Wednesday.