Representative Al Green hasn't been shy about his disdain for President Donald Trump.
The longtime Democratic U.S. representative from Houston has been quick to voice his disapproval and join others in criticizing and calling for the president's impeachment in the months — yeah, it has only been months — since Trump was sworn into office in January.
On Wednesday Green introduced articles of impeachment on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, livening up a session that was otherwise focused on whistleblower protection — and then quickly missed his chance to force an up-or-down vote in the House.
Past efforts to get Trump on the road to impeachment have involved citing the president's actions, including his firing of then-FBI director James Comey in May and the continuing-to-evolve revelations about the Trump presidential campaign's possible ties to Russians seeking to sway the U.S. presidential election, but this time around Green simply stood on the House floor and read Trump's tweets.
This time Green contended that Trump should not have to be convicted of a crime to be impeached and forced from office. Green pointed out that the Tweeter-in-Chief has made statements both in person and on the social media platform that have "incited bigotry" against various minorities, including African Americans (the NFL national anthem controversy), Puerto Ricans (the president chided them on how Hurricane Maria is going to screw up the country's budget, among other things) and transgender people (because Trump has said he doesn't want them in the military). Green also noted how Trump failed to condemn the white nationalists in Charlottesville, with articles stating that Trump "is fueling an alt-right hate machine."
"He has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute onto the presidency, has betrayed his trust as president to the manifest injury of the people of the United States of America and as a result is unfit to be president,” Green said, before a final flourish. “He warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office.”
As we've noted before, impeachment requires a majority vote and with the Republicans in control of both the House and the Senate, it will take a lot more than everything that has happened so far to get the House interested in impeaching Trump.
Even if the president were to be impeached, the Senate would then need to convict him. Again, despite the recent clashes between Trump and the GOP, we're more likely to see Senate Republicans do the limbo on the steps of the Capitol Building than vote for impeachment.
Still, this is the second time articles of impeachment have been introduced. After Green called for the president's impeachment in May (in a speech that led to his receiving racist voicemail messages saying Green should be lynched), California Democratic Representative Brad Sherman introduced articles of impeachment in July, although the articles never gained any traction in the House. This time around Green had vowed to force a vote that would become the first formal referendum in Congress on impeaching the president.
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To accomplish this, Green introduced the articles of impeachment as "privileged," which meant the House would be forced to consider the articles on the House floor within two legislative days. The odds were good the Republican leadership would move to table the articles, but Green planned to challenge the ruling and force a procedural vote, according to the Hill.
But within an hour of introducing the impeachment articles, Green missed his shot. When the GOP presiding officer moved to consider the resolution less than an hour later, Green wasn't there. Thus the resolution was not offered and will not be subject to a definite vote on the House floor.
Green says that he didn't push for a vote now because he wants members of Congress to have a chance to read the text first, hence why he missed the opportunity to force a vote now. But aside from that minor detail, the other, most likely reason is a simple one: Democrats are not ready to impeach Trump at this point, something Green is well aware of. Some in the party think it would be an overreach to go for the political jugular, and might alienate voters in the process, putting the Dems even deeper in the hole in the upcoming midterm elections.
This second round of impeachment articles against the president may have sounded impressive, but once again it has already turned out to be a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing much of real importance.