Vulnerable House Republicans jump on Trump train with impeachment vote

House Republicans unanimously voted on Wednesday to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, despite no evidence of any high crimes or misdemeanors by the president. Also despite the fact that the face of their effort, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, has become a national laughingstock because of it.

But this isn’t about Biden. It’s about proving loyalty to Donald Trump, and plenty of Republicans will happily admit that. For example, when Rolling Stone asked what Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas hopes to gain through this, Nehls replied, “All I can say is Donald J. Trump 2024, baby.” GOP Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee made it clear they’re doing the MAGA base’s bidding: “If we don’t go down these impeachment routes, a huge part of America is going to just say, ‘You know, we’re not supporting Republicans any more.’” In other words, they’re afraid of the MAGA base.

That makes the decision of the group now known as the “Biden 17” (following the expulsion of Rep. George Santos) even more questionable. For the 17 House Republicans who occupy districts that voted for Biden in 2020, it couldn’t be clearer that this is all about fealty to Trump, and they all happily signed on. They weren’t necessarily happy to talk about it, however.

Rep. Michelle Steel of California declined to talk to The Orange County Register about her vote at all. In a statement to the paper, California Rep. Young Kim pretended there was some higher principle involved about oversight: “This inquiry allows relevant committees to get more information on serious allegations, follow the facts and be transparent with the American people.” She also made it clear that she doesn’t sit on the committees, so it’s not her idea. But she voted for it anyway.

The New York freshmen among the Biden 17 were all for Trump, too. They also tried to dress it up and make it sound legitimate. “I think that the President needs to be held accountable and that there needs to be answers to some very serious questions regarding impropriety,” said Rep. Marc Molinaro. A spokesman for Rep. Anthony D’Esposito said they need to advance “this inquiry in a level-headed manner” because the allegations about Biden are “troubling.” Rep. Mike Lawler tried to minimize the vote. “Impeachment is a far ways off, but the inquiry is important,” he said.

Impeachment is entirely likely with this crew in the House. A conviction isn’t going to happen. The Senate won’t do that. There are few Republicans in the Senate who will straight-up endorse the idea without qualifications

They largely understand that while the MAGA base might be all wound up for it, the voting public as a whole is lukewarm about the idea at best, according to a recent Morning Consult poll. That includes independent votes, a plurality of which—43%—say the inquiry should not happen. Now that the inquiry is official, it seems likely that the non-MAGA American public is going to sour on it.

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