When Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) said the only person responsible for a potential impeachment of President Barack Obama would be the president himself, he lumped himself in with a group House Republicans that have all suggested support for the president’s impeachment.
Top Republicans have tried to point the finger at Democrats saying accusations that Republicans want to impeach the president are just overblown and a tactic by Democrats to get their base in the lather. But such claims ignores that Republicans have voiced support for impeaching the president.
Yoho might be the most recent. In an interview with the Tea Party Express highlighted by Buzzfeed recently, the Florida congressman (pictured, right, with his wife next to Speaker John Boehner) said, “If impeachment comes up, it’s not because Congress wants to do that, it’s because the president has chosen to bring that upon himself by not enforcing the laws on the books.”
A few weeks before Buzzfeed highlighted Yoho’s comments, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) said that House Republicans should stop wasting time with a lawsuit against Obama and just go straight to impeachment.
The number of Republicans who have called for or suggested impeachment doesn’t even reach two dozen but many of them are the conservative Republicans who have served as the biggest thorn in the side of Republican leadership, effectively holding much of the House GOP’s agenda hostage.
Even Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the new House majority whip, has opened the door to impeachment. Scalise, in late July, refused to rule out the prospect of impeaching Obama when he was asked three times about it. Then there was Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who told Breitbart that if Obama enacts more executive actions “we need to bring impeachment hearings immediately before the House of Representatives” adding “that’s my position and that’s my prediction.” King, in a later interview, would refuse to say “impeachment” but make the same warning. King’s comments on impeachment were spurred by his objections to Obama on immigration.
Republicans suggesting impeachment often float the idea in the context of their favorite attack at Obama. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) in 2013 said impeaching Obama was a possibility in response to his handling of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Bengahzi. A few months later Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) said if the House were to try to impeach Obama, there would probably be enough “votes in the House of Representatives to do it.”
Way back in 2011 Farenthold’s colleague, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) seemed to echo his Texas colleague when he said impeachment of Obama “needs to happen.”
Actually, a number of Republicans who have called for impeachment in the 2014 cycle are outgoing House members. Outgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in 2013 declined to throw out the possibility of impeachment, saying “as I have been home in my district, the 6th District of Minnesota, there isn’t a weekend that hasn’t gone by that someone says to me, ‘Michele, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress? Why aren’t you impeaching the president? He’s been making unconstitutional actions since he came into office.”
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) and two other little-known candidates in the Georgia Republican primary for U.S. Senate said they would seek to impeach Obama if they got the opportunity. Broun opted not to run for re-election and lost in the Republican primary.
On the campaign trail there are also some candidates who are singing the impeachment tune. Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R), who is all but certain to inherit Georgia’s 11th Congressional District this fall, has suggested that Obama deserves impeachment but that effort may not be worth it if it’s not sure to succeed.
In New Hampshire, the Republican frontrunner in the race to face Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH), Marilinda Garcia, has also called for impeachment.
“If it’s an impeachable offense, as the process will show, then every member of Congress is also sworn to uphold that and needs to vote appropriately,” Garcia said in late July. Less than two weeks earlier all four of the Republican candidates running for Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional seat also said they would likely support impeaching Obama.
Calls for impeaching Obama aren’t just solely in the House of Representatives. State Sen. Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Iowa, had to backtrack, after all, after comments surfaced where she suggested impeaching Obama. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Hucakbee (R), too, had to reverse course when he said Obama is worthy of impeachment.
But while some Republicans see impeachment as a good idea, others have tried to suffocate that idea before it gets any bigger. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), recently said that Democrats would love for Republicans to try and impeach Obama but said that’s because it would be a trap for the GOP.
“Believe me, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. The only people who want impeachment more than the right wing of the Republican Party is the entire Democrat Party,” Mulvaney said.