House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday morning dismissed the idea of censuring President Donald Trump, arguing instead that launching an impeachment inquiry would be the more appropriate course of action — if the proceedings are justified.
“No. I think censure is just a way out,” Pelosi replied when asked during a Christian Science Monitor event if she would support censuring the president. “If you want to go, you have to go. In other words, if the goods are there, you must impeach.”
“Censure is nice but is not commensurate with the violations of the Constitution, should we decide that’s the way to go,” the veteran California Democrat added. “That’s a day at the beach for the president — or his golf club, wherever he goes.”
Pelosi said if House Democrats move forward with the proceedings, lawmakers must ensure the Republican-led U.S. Senate stands ready to support it and that the American public is supportive. “It is important for the American people to see the purpose on why we’re going forward,” she stated. “If you are going to go down this path you have to make sure the public has an understanding of why.”
Asked for her thoughts on the growing number of House Democrats endorsing impeachment, Pelosi signaled she is not yet ready to throw her support behind it.
“I don’t think you should have an inquiry unless you’re ready to impeach,” the speaker said, adding “I feel no pressure from my members to do anything, I have no pressure on them to do anything.”
To date, 69 House Democrats, as well as Republican Rep. Justin Amash (MI), have publicly expressed support for impeachment. Among the most ardent supporters of impeachment are progressive House Democrats such as Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who warned Sunday that some lawmakers are increasingly perturbed by Pelosi’s reluctance to move forward with removing the president.
“I think it’s quite real,” the New York Democrat told ABC’s This Week when asked if progressive members of Congress are frustrated with the speaker. “I believe that there is a very real animus and desire to make sure that we are — that — that we are holding this president to account.”
“I think that impeachment is incredibly serious, and this is about the presence and evidence that the president may have committed a crime, in this case, more than one,” she added. “And so I believe that our decision on impeachment should be based in our constitutional responsibilities and duties and not in elections or polling.”