WASHINGTON – House Republican leaders may not have the votes to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, hours before they are set to move forward with their stunt.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) announced Tuesday that he opposes impeaching Mayorkas, making him the second Republican to publicly reject the effort. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) announced his opposition last week. Party leaders can only afford to lose a total of three votes, assuming every GOP member is present and voting yes.
Between recurring GOP absences, some openly expressing skepticism and a number of Republicans refusing to say how they’ll vote, things are looking murky at best.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Tuesday that he had individual conversations with his impeachment-skeptical colleagues but betrayed no concern that he lacked the votes for the Mayorkas impeachment articles, which are scheduled to hit the House floor Tuesday evening.
“There is no other measure for Congress to take but this one,” Johnson said at a press conference. “It’s an extreme measure. We do not take it lightly. And I respect the conscience of everyone and how they vote.”
Johnson’s remarks came shortly after McClintock released a 10-page memo laying out why it’s bad politics, bad policy and unconstitutional to impeach Mayorkas. He emphasized the simple fact that the cabinet secretary, who is responsible for carrying out the current immigration law, hasn’t committed any crimes. Impeachment is supposed to be for bribery, treason or other “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
For all the GOP’s criticisms of President Joe Biden’s border policies, the problem with going after Mayorkas is that Republicans “fail to identify an impeachable crime that Mayorkas has committed,” McClintock said. “In effect, they stretch and distort the Constitution in order to hold the administration accountable for stretching and distorting the law.”
The California Republican’s opposition echoed Buck’s previous complaints about the effort.
“It’s maladministration. He’s terrible. The border is a disaster,” the Colorado Republican told reporters last Thursday. “But that’s not impeachable.”
Republicans debated the impeachment articles during a party meeting earlier Tuesday, where Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) reportedly spoke in favor of McClintock’s argument. Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), who voted to advance impeachment in a committee markup last week, told HuffPost that he believed the articles were now “in peril.”
Gimenez said that, in addition to Buck, “I sense that there could be two or three more” Republicans against impeachment.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), who hasn’t announced his position, sounded skeptical after the meeting.
“I’m more of the thinking that we have an administration, we have one of the cabinet members carrying out the wishes of the President of the United States,” Kelly told HuffPost, echoing criticism that Republicans are targeting Mayorkas over a policy difference.
“It’s absolutely imperative that we can take a really long, deep look at what it is we’re doing and make sure we’re doing it for the right reasons, and it won’t be interpreted as just a tit-for-tat,” he said.