Impeachment and race are the two topics that 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will obsess over, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin predicted on Tuesday.
Appearing on “America’s Newsroom” with host Bill Hemmer, Goodwin said the “emotional trigger words” would really energize parts of the party’s base and its senior members.
“But, I also believe that these two things are just words,” he said. “These words don’t address really anything that gets to the heart of prosperity and security, which is the job of the president. That’s why I think these things are really just kind of feel-good nostrums and, you know, anger words.”
On Monday, the fourth-ranking Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced she would back an impeachment inquiry in the House. Stabenow did not say whether she would potentially vote to convict the president.
According to the most recent counts, 108 out of 235 Democrats support impeachment. 12 out of 47 of those are in the Senate, who’ve lagged behind their colleagues in the House. Many in the Senate did not want to cross wires with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D.Calif., who has adamantly refused to open a formal inquiry.
“The numbers nationally for the Democrats are good on impeachment,” Goodwin said. “Roughly two-thirds of Democrats nationally support impeachment…as voters. But, within the party, I think you’re still around 40-45 percent in the House. You’re not even a majority of Democrats in the House!”
“The math doesn’t come close. Again, Nancy Pelosi knows that,” he said.
Numbers aside, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s public testimony last week seems to have changed many Senate Democrats’ positions.
“The Mueller report is extremely serious,” Stabenow told reporters. “Obstruction of justice is extremely serious. And it’s worthy of an inquiry. Nobody is above the law. The president’s not above the law.”
“It’s not just about this president but it’s about what bar we have for presidents in the future about obstruction of justice. And, secondly, I am deeply concerned ... that Russia did interfere in our elections. This president has flouted that,” third-ranking Democratic Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., said on Monday. “The House should begin proceedings, we’ll see where that leads.”
“If you’d asked me that two weeks ago I’d have said the same thing,” Stabenow said. “I have felt for some time, I think it’s a responsibility that we have an inquiry.”
“Well, the Mueller report was the inquiry,” Goodwin told Hemmer. “I mean, that was the whole point for two years. Robert Mueller was going to have the keys to the kingdom. Not only was the report good for the president, but the hearing was a train wreck for the Democrats.”
Ahead of the public hearings, Mueller both made it known and was advised by the Department of Justice to stick to the findings of his 448-page report. The report concluded that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. However, it also noted that—while it didn’t conclude Trump committed a crime—it doesn’t formally “exonerate” him.
“It’s hard for me to see how this isn’t just a politically motivated opportunity to try to keep investigating to try to find something that Mueller didn’t,” said Goodwin. “I think bringing Bob Mueller to testify was a stupid thing. It backfired.”
Additionally, Goodwin referred to the president’s ongoing war of words with senior Representative Elijah Cummings, D-Md.. The pair have been locked in a feud for days after the president labeled Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
On the White House lawn Tuesday morning, the president alleged that Cummings is corrupt and that he was responsible for Baltimore's high crime rate and poverty, saying that Cummings rules the city "with a very iron hand."
"Those people are living in hell in Baltimore —they’re largely African-American. They really appreciate what I’m doing and they’ve let me know it," the president said.
Goodwin told Hemmer: “If you go down this road of ‘racist, racist, racist’ I think most people in the country are going to say, but what about those unemployment rates? What about the opportunities being created for generations of African Americans who have not prospered? And, by the way, what is Elijah Cummings doing in Baltimore?”
Goodwin said he thought the president made a “good argument” without follow-through. “But, I think that’s also true because the Democrats will not work with him,” Goodwin exclaimed.
“I hope some candidates will say, ‘Let’s talk about the things that affect people in their daily lives.’ Whether it’s healthcare, whether it’s the economy, whether it’s education, whether it’s national security…But, so far I see that really it’s all about Donald Trump. It’s all about hating Donald Trump. It’s not about fixing the problems.”