Rahm Emanuel, the liberal mayor of Chicago who served as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, has urged fellow Democrats against threatening to impeach President Donald Trump.
Emanuel argued that impeachment was a serious accusation, and not something to be pushed for political gain. Emanuel made his comments Monday at a Chicago event hosted by Axios.
“I lived through the Clinton White House,” Emanuel said, according to Axios. “This is a serious legal and constitutional, not political, issue. … I couldn’t be angrier at Donald Trump. … That said, you don’t just flippantly say: We’re for [impeachment].”
Emanuel was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton. Clinton was impeached in 1998, but was later acquitted by the Senate.
Emanuel is still not a Trump supporter by any scope of the imagination, but he said he does not believe that he has done anything to justify impeachment. He argued that when Trump did something worthy of impeachment, the country would realize it.
“When we get to it, we collectively as a country will know it — as we did with, like, Richard Nixon,” Emanuel said. The House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment against Nixon, but he resigned before the process could get any further.
“[Y]ou don’t just treat … the policy standard of impeachment … as a political tool. It’s a constitutional standard and, when that standard has been met, we’ll know about it. … This is a case where the best politics is good policy.”
Emanuel warned that instead of just being anti-Trump, Democrats need to develop their own agenda.
“Ideas, ideas matter,” he said, according to The Chicago Tribune. “And now, in 2018, opposing Trump on a whole host of things that he’s done which are wrong will be the right strategy. 2018 to 2020, when you’re running for a national office, you’re going to have to have a proactive agenda that has a vision of the future.”
In the report, Axios editor Mike Allen compared Emanuel’s comments to those by liberal New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who argued that calling for impeachment is a dangerous game for Democrats, because a failed impeachment “would leave an even more popular president in office.”