Two top Republican officials join Pelosi in supporting the impeachment inquiry
As the Ukraine scandal rages on, most Republicans serving in Congress have been reluctant to say anything critical of President Donald Trump — and many have been insisting that Trump did nothing wrong during his July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But two GOP governors in blue states, Vermont’s Phil Scott and Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker, have joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in supporting an impeachment inquiry.
Scott told the Washington Post, “I think we have much more to learn and need to understand all the facts as this serious allegation is considered. Congress has a solemn responsibility to every American to fulfill its role in our government system of checks and balances.”
Trump tried to pressure Zelensky into digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden — who is competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — and his son Hunter Biden, as a partial White House transcript has revealed.
Pelosi, during a Friday morning appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” stressed that deciding to come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry gives her no pleasure. And Scott, similarly, told the Post that impeachment “is a very serious issue and should not be taken lightly or abused.”
At a press conference on Thursday, Baker told reporters, “It’s a deeply disturbing situation and circumstance, and I think the proper role and responsibility for Congress at this point is to investigate it and get to the bottom of it.”
Although Baker and Scott will no doubt be lambasted in the right-wing media and denounced as RINOs (Republican In Name Only) for siding with Pelosi over Trump, it is unlikely to hurt them politically in their states. Massachusetts and Vermont are both blue states in New England, and both of them are associated with very liberal/progressive U.S. senators: Bernie Sanders (a self-described “democratic socialist”) represents Vermont, while fellow 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate Elizabeth Warren represents Massachusetts. Warren was reelected by double digits in 2018, but so was Baker — who has been a popular Republican governor in a state where Democrats have a clear advantage. Last year, Baker defeated Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jay Gonzalez by 33%.
Republicans who served as Massachusetts governors in the past include Bill Weld (who is challenging Trump in a presidential primary) and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. Romney is among the Republicans in the U.S. Senate who hasn’t been rushing to Trump’s defense. Romney has described the Ukraine scandal and allegations against Trump as “deeply troubling” and “troubling in the extreme.”