Commentary: Trump’s attacks warrant his impeachment

Jul 19, 2019

It is time to impeach Donald Trump.

I made the decision to call for impeachment after the president’s statement that some members of Congress should go back to the countries they came from. It is clear from this message that the president has no understanding of what it means to be a U.S. citizen, what it takes to become a citizen, or what it means to the people of the world to strive for the dream of being an American.

I do not come to this decision lightly. The decision to impeach is one that transcends party and politics. Exercising the authority to impeach is one of the heaviest responsibilities a member of Congress has.

Yet, the dream of America as a shining city on a hill, “where the eyes of the people are upon us,” in the words of John Winthrop, is everything my great country is about. If we let the president destroy that dream, then we let him erode the fundamentals of our country. The president demonstrated last weekend that he has no understanding of the dream that is so fundamental to our exceptionalism and therefore does not deserve to be president.

While my decision to impeach hinges on that fundamental value of citizenship and the American dream, I must also acknowledge the racism in the president’s statement. His racism is disgusting. The four members of Congress who were the target of last weekend’s statement are all women of color, and his use of the terminology about having them go back to the country from which they came dredges up some of the worst impulses coursing through U.S. history.

Some will ask whether or not my reasoning rises to the Constitutional standard of high crimes and misdemeanors. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 65, “the subjects of [a court of impeachment’s] jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”

The violation of the public trust can take many forms. Obstruction of justice, which is the subject of House committee investigations based on the Mueller report, is one form. Inherent racism and bigotry is another. For me, the president’s fundamental lack of understanding of the American dream violates that trust.

The idea of being an American citizen or striving to be an American citizen, and the dream it represents to people around the world is fundamental to our country. This president has no concept of this widely and tightly held belief of Americans. His comments do not protect the concept of U.S. citizenship. They undermine it.

He should not be the president of the United States.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Washington, represents the 2nd Congressional District.