How a California Republican helped undermine Mayorkas’ impeachment vote


How a California Republican helped undermine Mayorkas’ impeachment vote

Immigration and the border

Sarah D. Wire

February 7, 2024



Rep. Tom McClintock said


he urged his party to vote against the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, saying it would cheapen the use of the harshest punishment known to Congress.

“It weakens the standard of impeachment to the point where it will become a constant feature of our national life every time the White House is occupied by one party and Congress by another party,” McClintock told the Times on Wednesday. “That’s exactly what America’s founders feared and that’s why they were very careful to specify narrow limits on its use.”

The staunch conservative from Elk Grove, California, is known as a constitutional originalist who is willing to break with his party when he thinks it’s necessary.

That includes supporting marijuana legalization and opposing the 2017 Republican tax bill for being curt

the popular state and local tax deduction, also known as SALT, failed.

“I’ve learned over the years that if you’re going to be an outlier, you better be sure you’re right, and I’ve taken my time and I’m damn sure I’m right,” McClintock said .

McClintock explained his reasoning in a 10-page memo early Tuesday before the impeachment failed.

In the memo, McClintock said the two articles of impeachment “fail to identify an impeachable crime that Mayorkas committed. In effect, they distort and twist the Constitution to hold the government accountable for stretching and twisting the law.”

The articles accuse Mayorkas of failing to properly enforce the country’s immigration laws and betraying the public’s trust. Republicans have accused Mayorkas of ending immigration policies during the Trump administration


and implementing new immigration policies under President Biden that they say have encouraged more people to come.

The White House has argued that a Cabinet secretary should not be removed over a policy disagreement and that existing policies address immigration within the scope of the budget Congress passes.

McClintock said new laws or more money won’t help. He said if voters are unhappy with immigration policies, they should give Republicans control of the government.

“This problem will not be solved by passing bills that will not be signed, or laws that will not be enforced, or funds that will only be used to admit illegal aliens and not deport them. And it won’t be solved by replacing one left wing. officially with another,” he said.


e 214 to 216 again

The first impeachment was a surprise, caused by a combination of Republican absences on Tuesday, the ‘no’ vote

tes of four Republicans and the surprise appearance of a shoeless Democrat wearing scrubs straight from surgery at a local hospital.

McClintock was one of four Republicans who voted no to impeach Mayorkas. One of the no votes from Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), the conference vice chair, was a tactical no. If a member of leadership votes no, he or she can raise the issue again at a later date.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) emphasized Wednesday that while the failure was a setback, he plans to bring up the articles of impeachment again.

“Democracy is messy. We live in a time of divided governments. We have a razor-thin margin here and every vote counts,” Johnson said. “We will pass those articles of impeachment. We will do it in the next round.”

One of the other no votes, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), was pressured to change his mind as the vote was taking place, but McClintock said he was not pressured to change his vote by leadership of the House of Representatives or his colleagues. Republican representatives.

“They have all been very respectful and recognize that the position I have taken is in support of our Constitution and the process that runs this government,” he told The Times.

Still, he faced criticism following the vote by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who brought forward the articles of impeachment.

“He is reneging on his oath of office,” she said, referring to McClintock. ‘He needs to build up some courage and read the room. The chamber is our country and the American people are fed up with it… He must do the right thing.”

In a CSPAN interview Wednesday, McClintock pushed back.

“Instead of reading the audience, I would suggest that perhaps she read the Constitution, which she took an oath to support and defend,” he said. “The Constitution clearly sets out the grounds for impeachment. This dramatically weakens those grounds and would set a precedent that could turn against conservatives on the Supreme Court or a future Republican administration once Democrats take control of Congress.”


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