A conservative leader is calling on Minnesota’s Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) to publicly declare “his opposition to his own party’s abuse of power” and announce he will vote against both articles of impeachment brought against President Donald Trump.
Peterson told reporters this week that he’s leaning against voting for the articles of impeachment and was one of two Democrats to vote against formalizing the impeachment inquiry. But “leaning against now, followed by a vote against on the day the House takes up impeachment” is “simply not sufficient,” said Jeff Webb, chairman of the New American Populist.
“Rep. Peterson knows full well that the two articles of impeachment presented by the House Judiciary Committee yesterday morning are entirely unsupported by the facts,” Webb said in a Wednesday statement. “It is time for Rep. Peterson to be a profile in courage and announce today that he will vote against impeachment and encourage his Democratic colleagues in the House to do the same.”
Webb said the voters of Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District are “crying out for sanity and national unity.” He pointed to the example provided by Edmund G. Ross, a Republican senator from Kansas who provided the final vote needed to acquit President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, from the “partisan impeachment charges brought by the leadership of Ross’ Republican Party back in 1868.”
Ross was profiled in President John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage,” which Webb quoted from Wednesday and cited the following passages:
As the trial progressed it became increasingly apparent that the impatient Republicans did not intend to give the President a fair trial on the formal issues upon which the impeachment was drawn, but intended instead to depose him from the White House on any grounds, real or imagined, for refusing to accept their policies. Telling evidence in the President’s favor was arbitrarily excluded. Prejudgment on the part of most Senators was brazenly announced… The chief interest was not in the trial or evidence, but in the tallying of votes necessary for conviction.
Only Ross’s vote was needed to obtain the thirty-six votes necessary to convict the President. But not a single person in the room knew how this young Kansan would vote. Unable to conceal the suspense and emotion in his voice, the Chief Justice put the question to him: ‘Mr. Senator Ross, how say you? Is the respondent Andrew Johnson guilty or not guilty of a high misdemeanor as charged in this Article?’ Every voice was still; every eye was upon the freshman Senator from Kansas. The hopes and fears, the hatred and bitterness of past decades were centered upon this one man…
Then came the answer, again in a voice that could not be misunderstood–full, final, definite, unhesitating and unmistakable. ‘Not guilty.’ The deed was done, the President saved, the trial as good as over and conviction lost.
“We need more profiles in courage to bring unity to this divided country today. It is time for Rep. Collin Peterson to be such a profile in courage, and publicly announce he will vote no on all articles of impeachment,” Webb concluded.
Earlier this week, the New American Populist published a list of 46 Democrats– 31 who represent congressional districts carried by Trump in 2016 and 15 who represent districts Hillary Clinton narrowly won–and called on them to vote against the “contrived articles of impeachment.” That list included both Peterson and Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02), who said Wednesday that she’s still undecided on impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) and the chairmen of the impeachment inquiry committees unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Trump during a Tuesday morning press conference—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The full House is expected to vote on the articles sometime next week.
President Trump won Peterson’s district by 30.8 percentage points in the 2016 election.
The New American Populist is devoted to creating a “comprehensive platform that promotes ideas and policies in support of America’s middle-class.”
Webb, the organization’s founder, “is a Tennessee entrepreneur and founder of Varsity Brands, the nation’s leading direct provider of spirit, sports, and team recognition products and services.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Collin Peterson” by Collin Peterson. Background Photo “House Vote” by CSPAN.