Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) told constituents at an event Saturday in his district that, although it would amount to a fruitless effort that could potentially damage the country, Republicans have the votes in the House to impeach President Barack Obama.
Fielding a question from a birther at a gathering in Luling, Texas, Farnethold at first lamented that Congress didn't do more to investigate Obama's birth certificate.
“I think unfortunately the horse is already out of the barn on this, on the whole birth certificate issue.” Farenthold said. “The original Congress when his eligibility came up should have looked into this and they didn’t. I’m not sure how we fix it.”
“You tie into a question I get a lot, if everybody's so unhappy with what the President’s done, why don’t you impeach him,” Farenthold continued. “I’ll give you a real frank answer about that, if we were to impeach the President tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted.”
Farenthold said the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton should serve as a cautionary tale for Republicans. Clinton was impeached by the House in 1999, but was not convicted by the Senate and therefore remained in office.
“What message do we send to America if we impeach Obama and he gets away with what he’s impeached for and is found innocent? What do we say then is okay,” the Congressman conclude. “Aside from the fact that it wouldn’t be effective, I think there’s some potential damage to society that would be done with a failed attempt at impeachment.”
It was the latest interaction between a GOP congressman and a birther at a recent town hall. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) told an angry woman last week who identified herself as the "birther brincess" that investigating the birth certificate was a non-starter, even though he said he believed what she was saying. A spokeswoman for Mullin subsequently told TPM that the congressman "just misspoke" and is not a birther. Meanwhile, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) told constituents earlier this month that he'll back a birther bill in the House, although he believes the issue is a "distraction."