With Wednesday's imminent vote on impeachment in the full House of Representatives, Trump district Democrats now need to make a decision. And one-by-one, these vulnerable lawmakers are making the riskier political choice: that President Trump deserves it. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) got the ball rolling early Monday morning with her announcement that she's all in for impeachment. Some gave her a standing ovation, but many others protested.
Then came Utah Rep. Ben McAdams. He's also a "yes" because, he insists, Trump had sinister political motives in his July phone call with Ukraine.
"The president abused the power of his office by demanding a foreign government perform a personal favor," the Democrat said.
The most surprising "yes" vote so far, in my opinion, is Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY). For months he's been reluctant to join in the impeachment process, wanting to focus on other agenda items like infrastructure. In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pledge to him that she'd consider his infrastructure legislation is a big reason he decided to vote for her speakership. But, on Monday, he joined the majority of his colleagues and said he'll be voting in favor of impeachment.
BREAKING: Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), who was previously considered a swing vote from a conservative district now says he plans to vote to impeach President Trump on Wednesday after concluding the president abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress.— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) December 17, 2019
Brindisi revealed his decision in an op-ed for Syracuse.com, explaining why this whole process has caused him "great pain."
"Why?" he asked. "Because I’ve successfully partnered with this president to improve the lives of many American families."
For instance, he commended Trump for working with him to extend housing and transportation programs to veterans and passing the first-ever fentanyl sanctions legislation. Yet, he's concluded that Trump's call with Ukrainian President Zelensky was "unconstitutional."
Like Slotkin, reactions from Brindisi's constituents were mixed.
Rep. Anthony Brindisi will lose his district in 2020. This is a pro-Trump district and his narrow victory was a fluke. @claudiatenney— Fantasy Belichick (10-3) ? (@Fantasy_Bill) December 17, 2019
Others applauded him for "respecting the rule of law" and "finally realizing he's a Democrat."
I know his district. I traveled through there last summer and saw a lot of trump support in the form of bumper stickers, yard signs etc. This might be political suicide for him, but I think doing what is correct for the country is more important. Many kudos to Rep Brindisi.— Frank Galpin ??? (@artkincell) December 17, 2019
So, the tally remains at just two Democrats who are voting "no"; Minnesota's Collin Peterson and New Jersey's Jeff Van Drew, the latter of whom is so disenchanted with Pelosi and the like that he's switching parties. White House adviser Kellyanne Conway commended Van Drew on Fox News Tuesday morning.
"History will show that Pelosi lied," Conway said. "Public opinion has gone the other direction. Van Drew is voting his conscience."
Thirty-one Democrats won in Trump-friendly districts last year. As the New York Post put it, "Now the rookies must choose which of their voters to piss off."