Fellow Republicans and veterans of past impeachments think Trump is talking way too much
Long before he became president of the United States, Donald Trump was known for being bombastic. But facing an impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives has made him even more bombastic than usual: rather than showing some restraint, Trump’s approach is to angrily rail against Democrats and denounce whistleblowers as treasonous. And according to a report for the Daily Beast by Sam Stein, Asawin Suebsaeng and Sam Brodey, some Republicans believe that the president is only making things worse for himself by talking too much.
“As President Donald Trump navigates an impeachment process that is upending his presidency, Republicans in the trenches are offering blunt advice: shut up about impeachment,”
Stein, Suebsaeng and Brodey report. “The fear emanating from Capitol Hill and other corners of the GOP is that Trump’s proclivity for going on the attack is harming his long-term political prospects.”
Veteran political consultant Dick Morris (who advised President Bill Clinton during his impeachment in the late 1990s) told the Beast that during an impeachment, it’s important to act calm and publicly pretend you’re simply carrying on business as usual no matter how much you’re sweating behind closed doors. Trump, of course, has been anything but calm about the impeachment inquiry in the House.
Morris advised that Trump “should issue an ever-increasing stream of policy initiatives that have nothing to do with impeachment. You just have to make sausage every day and put it up on a nail. The public will look for other stuff to follow, and that will be what Trump is putting out there.”
The Beast also interviewed long-time GOP strategist Ed Rollins, who offered similar advice and asserted, “If I was the president, I would ignore the impeachment process as much as you could.”
When the Beast noted to Rollins that Trump is unlikely to follow such advice, he responded, “You are asking me what my advice would be, not what advice would be taken.”
A White House official, quoted anonymously, told the Beast that Trump has no desire to keep quiet about impeachment.
“Strategy is dictated by the president, and the president very much wants to talk about this,” the strategist observed.
Another Republican, described in the article as a “House Republican staffer,” doesn’t have a problem with Trump’s inflammatory remarks on impeachment — which, according to the staffer, are rallying his base.
“It’s his brand to fight back,” the staffer told the Beast. “That keeps the base locked in, and it keeps the people who were with him in 2016.”
If Trump is indicted on articles of impeachment in the House, that wouldn’t automatically remove him from office — he would have to be subsequently convicted in a Senate trial. And Morris is confident that the majority of Republican senators would deliver “not guilty” votes.
“No matter what Trump says or doesn’t say, does or doesn’t do, he is going to get impeached,” Morris told the Beast. “But the flip side of that is he isn’t going to get removed. The Republican base will become, in effect, a firing squad to shoot any Republican senator who votes to remove him.”