Never Trumper John Podhoretz, a contributing editor for the now-defunct Never Trump magazine the Weekly Standard, tweeted on Wednesday that he wondered whether the U.S. economy tanking would lead to President Donald Trump losing enough support from Republicans in Congress that he would be removed from office.
To remove a sitting president via the impeachment process, a majority in the House must vote for articles of impeachment to bring charges against a president, then a two-thirds super-majority in the Senate must approve them, thereby convicting the president with 67 or more votes.
How many people's hearts sank when they saw the Dow went up 1,000 points because they really hoped Trump had plunged us into a bear market that would cause GOP legislators to turn on him and support removal after impeachment?
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) December 26, 2018
Technically speaking, with Democrats taking over the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 3 as a result of the midterm elections, to impeach President Trump they would need just a majority–which they could do with all Democrats–to pass articles of impeachment. But, to remove Trump from office, there would need to be 20 Republicans in the Senate joining together with all 47 Democrats to reach the requisite 67 vote threshold.
Fellow Never Trumper Bill Kristol, the founding editor of the Weekly Standard, tweeted something similar on Christmas Eve, questioning what may “shake’ GOP backing of Trump in the Senate:
A question to debate at your Christmas meal or Chinese restaurant: Has the combination of the November election results plus a bear market plus the departure of Mattis begun—at last!— to shake Republican support for Trump?
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) December 24, 2018
While the Democrats took control of the House in the midterms, Republicans added to their majority in the Senate. Heading into the midterms with a slim 51-49 GOP majority in the U.S. Senate, the GOP picked up a net two seats and enter the new Congress with a stronger 53-47 majority.
Podhoretz’s and Kristol’s tweets come as the stock market suffered heavy losses heading into Christmas–but on Wednesday, the market rallied back with a historic more than thousand point boom in just a single day.
In response to Podhoretz’s tweet, Trump supporter Arthur Schwartz–a former senior strategic adviser to Wall Street titan and billionaire Maurice R. Greenberg, the founder and former chairman and chief executive officer of insurance giant AIG–mocked Podhoretz for his lack of financial markets knowledge:
Just morons like you that have no idea how Wall Street works. https://t.co/R77EjRErpT
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) December 27, 2018
Jack Posobiec, a reporter for One America News, also mocked him, noting that Blackstone’s Wayne Berman–who previously worked for Greenberg and now serves as the right hand to Blackstone founder, chairman, and chief executive officer Stephen Schwarzman–is on the president’s shortlist for White House chief of staff:
Does John really think he knows more about Wall Street than Wayne Berman who is on the shortlist for WH Chief of Staff? pic.twitter.com/AIzcv3Uo01
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 27, 2018
Trump removed retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as chief of staff in the White House this month, replacing him with now Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney–the director of the Office of Management and Budget–for the time-being. It remains to be seen whether Mulvaney will remain in the job for the long haul, or if he will serve as more of a caretaker until a permanent solution comes along.
One source with knowledge of ongoing discussions in the White House suggested that there could be a scenario where Berman comes in in a senior role and Mulvaney stays in the chief role, since he has conservative movement backing. while Berman can move the needle on Wall Street and is one of the most influential players on Capitol Hill.
This source was confident that Berman would accept such an offer if made. Others who have been in consideration for chief of staff include former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Citizens United president Dave Bossie, and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. It remains to be seen what direction the president will go from here heading into his re-election.
But back on the impeachment front, incoming likely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is under enormous pressure to bring forth impeachment measures against Trump to begin the new Congress–but for now she is fighting back.
“Let me just say that it’s interesting that these allegations are coming from his own Justice Department. This is not Robert Mueller, this is about the Justice Department. We’ll see how they pursue it,” Pelosi said at a press conference in mid-December when asked about impeachment. “But from our standpoint, what we’re interested in is meeting the needs of America’s working families.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the incoming House Majority Leader, said that impeachment talk is “premature” for now.
But other Democrats, like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)–the incoming chair of the House Financial Services Committee–are gunning for Trump off the bat. Just earlier this month, Waters called Trump a “criminal” who must be impeached.