A Divided Country Speaks Up Ahead Of House Impeachment Vote
There are over 500 separate rallies calling for the impeachment of President Trump planned across the U.S. Tuesday night ahead of the full House vote on impeachment.
These rallies — and planned counterprotests — speak to an impassioned yet highly divided electorate.
A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds Americans’ views of impeachment divided and unchanged: 48% of the country opposes the impeachment of Trump, while 47% support it.
So what’s compelling people on both sides to hit the streets?
In Pennsylvania’s first congressional district in Bucks County — a swing district where Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016 — Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick is set to against impeachment.
A demonstration is set to take place Tuesday night outside of Fitzpatrick’s office. One organizer, Kierstyn Zolfo, expects several hundred people to show up.
She says they’re rallying to remind Fitzpatrick of his duty to defend the Constitution.
“We need to remind him about the oath of office that he took, because in addition to being a congressman, he is a former FBI agent, the only one in Congress right now,” she says. “So he’s taken that oath of office to defend the Constitution many times in his career.”
The organizers are expecting people with a plethora of political views to participate.
“There are Republicans who turn out for these events because it isn’t just about party identification,” she says. “It’s about people who want to stand up for what our nation is supposed to stand for. This is about defending democracy.”
Zolfo, who has been listening to the hearings, says chatter among family and coworkers mostly consists of fairly positive reactions to how House Democrats have handled the impeachment inquiry.
“It’s pretty clear that President Trump withheld vital congressionally approved aid to force a foreign country to serve his political whims,” she says. For those who disagree, she says they’re “misinformed” and hopes the rally’s message will “strike home a little bit.”
But for Jim Worthington — founder of People for Trump, owner of two athletic clubs in Pennsylvania and a member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition — says Trump’s call was nothing near a quid pro quo.
“You’ve got the Ukrainian president that said that it wasn’t such a thing,” he says. “I mean, if you really want the answer, ask the guy was on the other end of the phone.”
Instead of squashing momentum for Trump, the impeachment inquiry has surged Republicans’ support and enthusiasm for the president and his 2020 reelection campaign, he says.
Worthington also says the people he interacts with are “bored” with talk of impeachment, calling the official inquiry a “non-event.”
A counter demonstration is planned to take place outside of Fitzpatrick’s office Tuesday night to voice their support for the Republican congressman’s impeachment stance. Worthington says he isn’t worried about how many people show up.
“We’re all at work. We’re getting on with our lives,” he says. “We believe that the president has nothing to be concerned about.”
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
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