Republicans are poised to make impeachment an albatross for Democrats, particularly in red states where the move would nullify those who voted for President Trump.
Democrats have felt bolstered in recent days by polls showing public support for impeachment is rising. But most of the rise in support is from Democrats, and Trump and Republicans are now beginning to fight back.
On Wednesday, the White House sent a letter to House Democrats slamming the impeachment inquiry as an “illegitimate” and “partisan” effort to undo the 2016 election.
“The President cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the Executive Branch from their work on behalf of the American people,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote.
At a campaign rally Thursday in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Trump called it a “witch hunt” and “insane,” and warned an attempt to overthrow him would produce backlash at the ballot box.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) shared with Republican lawmakers this week an internal poll that showed that in 95 battleground districts, 67 percent of independents viewed impeachment as politically motivated.
The poll found that a Republican candidate who opposes impeachment leads a pro-impeachment Democrat 50 percent to 42 percent. It also found that in districts that Trump carried in 2016 that are currently held by Democrats, the Republican candidate holds a 54 percent to 38 percent lead.
Red state Democrats back in their home states for two weeks are coming face-to-face with constituents unhappy about their support for impeachment.
The New York Times‘ Daily podcast recently followed Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a vulnerable Democrat in a red district who came out in favor of an impeachment inquiry, to three town halls, where she was confronted by upset constituents.
Attendees shouted “Not true! We didn’t ask for that,” “Fake news,” and “Do your job,” at the town halls.
Slotkin told them, “I’m going to wait for facts,” and “look at them judiciously.” One attendee asked her why she wrote an op-ed that came out in support of an impeachment inquiry before the facts were out: “If you’re waiting, why did you send the op-ed?”
One attendee told Slotkin that she liked her at first, but “when you fell off the cliff for me was when you joined the coup against our president.” That comment was greeted with agreement from others.
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) October 9, 2019
The internal House Republican poll found that 68 percent of voters in battleground districts say Democrats should be more concerned about addressing issues such as health care and the economy.
Throughout the country, House Democrats in red districts are facing anti-impeachment protests from Arizona to New York:
— Christiana Purves (@cfpurves) October 10, 2019
At a recent event for Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), anti-impeachment protesters were removed from the line for one of her events so that supporters could sit in front, according to Deputy Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee Mike Joyce.
— Mike Joyce (@mjoyce317) October 10, 2019
Hey @SusieLeeNV, we’re out here in front of your office to tell you to STOP the baseless Impeachment Inquiry! Nevadans will remember in November. We stand with @realDonaldTrump! #StoptheMadness #DontImpeach #ImpeachThis 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/45ybGZsxae
— Joe Weaver (@j_weavernv) October 10, 2019
New Jersey voters are holding their Reps accountable for caving to the left!
— Mandi Merritt (@mandi_merritt) October 10, 2019
— Emma Vaughn (@em__vaughn) October 9, 2019
— Samantha Bullock (Zager) (@samantha_zager) October 8, 2019
Rep @MaxRose4NY claims to represent his district, but caved to the socialist left to support this baseless impeachment witch hunt.
Voters will remember in 2020! pic.twitter.com/3egEadr0GL
— Mandi Merritt (@mandi_merritt) October 7, 2019
As of now, 224 Democrats support impeachment or an impeachment inquiry — more than the 218 majority needed in the House to formally vote on opening an impeachment inquiry or to pass articles of impeachment.
Republicans have called on Democrats to hold a full vote on opening an impeachment inquiry, which would afford Republicans powers such as the ability to subpoena witnesses. Currently, the inquiry has been conducted behind closed doors.
Democrat groups are hoping to sway public opinion towards impeachment. Politico reported this week that a Democrat-aligned digital group ACRONYM is launching a $1 million ad campaign in battleground states focused on impeaching Trump.
The ads will first run in five states with 2020 electoral votes up for grabs — Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and could expand nationwide.
Follow Breitbart News’ @Kristina_Wong.