Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls on Nancy Pelosi to abandon her "measured approach" to impeachment

"Holding this party together is a difficult task, but I think that we know what we need to do," Ocasio-Cortez says

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 21, 2019 2:40PM (EDT)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Getty/Mandel Ngan)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Getty/Mandel Ngan)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to abandon her "measured approach" and begin impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.

"I trust the speaker is taking a measured approach to ensure that we're moving everyone forward," Ocasio-Cortez told a reporter Tuesday. "I know that, you know, being a speaker is hard. Holding this party together is a difficult task, but I think that we know what we need to do. I personally believe that we have to move forward."

Ocasio-Cortez is not alone in calling for Trump's impeachment. House Democratic leadership has so far taken a cautious approach on the issue, most likely over concerns that it could backfire politically, as the Republican push to impeach former President Bill Clinton did in the 1990s. Experts have cautioned that not impeaching Trump could also prove to be a political calculation.

"Nancy Pelosi seems to think that some history would celebrate not Catherine the Great, but Catherine the Faint-hearted," American University political scientist Allan Lichtman told Salon earlier this month. "She is leading the Democrats down the primrose path of playing not to lose, of being timid, of being afraid, the path that has always caused the Democrats to lose. This is a truly turning-point historic moment in the history of the United States."

He added, "We now have a rogue president. Absolutely right about that, but we have a rogue president who cannot be checked by what Nancy Pelosi is proposing. The only way to check this president is to hold him accountable, to strike at his power and his brand, and that can only be done by beginning an impeachment investigation. The argument that the House should not impeach because the Senate might not convict is constitutionally unsound, politically unsound and morally bankrupt. It is not the responsibility of the House to look into a crystal ball and try to figure out what the Senate may or may not do."

Salon also spoke to author and former intelligence analyst David Priess about his thoughts regarding the obstacles to impeaching Trump. Foremost among them is the fact that 20 Republican senators would have to turn against the president for him to be removed from office, since a two-thirds majority is required. The GOP has a 53-to-47 lead over Democrats and the independents who caucus with them. This may also factor into Pelosi's decision to not pursue an impeachment investigation against Trump, at least at this time.

"Right now, it is hard to envision," Priess told Salon. "I went back and looked at some of the sources in 1973, in early 1974 and it is eerie the parallels, both from the president saying that the investigation into him as a witch hunt, but also from the president's political allies on the hill, adding up those numbers and saying, 'Yeah, they can investigate all they want, but the numbers just aren't there to do a conviction on an impeachment charge.' Well, that turned pretty quickly. Suddenly, you went from something that was seen as impossible to something that was seen as inevitable within a matter of weeks in 1974."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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