early and often

Impeaching Biden Will Be Job One If Republicans Win the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Capitol Hill. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock

The consensus expectation about the 2022 midterm elections is that Republicans will win the House, but not by any comfortable margin now that the prospect of a big pro-GOP wave is receding. If that’s how it plays out, future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be on a very hot seat. He will owe his gavel to a small but very aggressive group of MAGA members with zero sense of institutional loyalty and a strong willingness to purge him if he doesn’t live up to their incendiary expectations. And these members think job one for a new Republican majority will be impeaching President Biden, as The Hill reports:

At least eight resolutions to impeach Biden have been offered since he took office: Three related to his handling of the migrant surge at the southern border; three targeting his management of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year; one denouncing the eviction moratorium designed to help renters during the pandemic; and still another connected to the overseas business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden.

These resolutions will expire at the end of the year, but there’s no question that at least some of them will be reintroduced, perhaps as part of a concerted MAGA strategy to consolidate all of the complaints about Biden’s fitness for office. If the current Congress is any indication, the most avid would-be impeacher, Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, won’t wait long. Per the Hill:

“She believes Joe Biden should have been impeached as soon as he was sworn in, so of course she wants it to happen as soon as possible,” Nick Dyer, a Greene spokesman, said Monday in an email. 

It’s notable that so much of the impeachment activity among House Republicans involves basic policy disagreements between Republicans and Democrats (particularly on immigration), not any clear-cut presidential misconduct. That makes impeachment even more likely. Being a Democrat in the White House is apparently an impeachable offense.

During the last administration, Speaker Nancy Pelosi held off impeachment sentiment in her caucus for well over a year until Trump provoked Democrats with his efforts to make Ukraine an ally in his reelection campaign. It’s unlikely that McCarthy can rein in the hounds for that long. Pelosi’s most rebellious members were centrists from marginal districts who wanted to pass bipartisan legislation, not impeach the other party’s president. In McCarthy’s case, the most difficult members are from the GOP camp that would probably be delighted with a one-party dictatorship, at least until America is made “great” again.

So if Speaker McCarthy does little or nothing to rain on an impeachment parade in 2023, what will happen then? It’s possible that members who pass for moderate House Republicans these days would object to an actual impeachment. But pressure from the party writ large — and from its likely 2024 presidential nominee (either Trump or DeSantis) — to set up Biden as a presumed criminal as he runs for reelection will likely subdue any jitters about moving ahead.

The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to convict in a Senate impeachment trial, so regardless of whether Democrats hang on to the upper chamber in November, they will have more than enough votes to keep Biden in office. That will make any impeachment exercise at least as performative as the two failed Democratic efforts to hold Trump accountable.

But keep in mind that the MAGA bravos who will drive the Biden impeachment train are convinced that inadequate combativeness and excessive obeisance to Beltway bipartisan traditions have crippled the Republican Party and the conservative movement for decades. The House will likely be the power center for Republicans next January, with Trump ranting and snarling and likely plotting his revenge on the sidelines. As Democrats struggle to hold the White House and the Senate in 2024, sketchy characters like MTG, Andy Biggs, and Matt Gaetz will walk tall in the GOP. Things could get very wild.

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Impeaching Biden Will Be Job One in a Republican House