Tulsi’s position on impeaching Trump is a complex one. Up until around late September, Tulsi opposed impeachment because it would “further divide our already badly divided country.” But on September 27 Tulsi stated the following:
However, after looking carefully at the transcript of the conversation with Ukraine’s President, the whistleblower complaint, the Inspector General memo, and President Trump’s comments about the issue, unfortunately, I believe that if we do not proceed with the inquiry, it will set a very dangerous precedent. Future presidents, as well as anyone in positions of power in the government, will conclude that they can abuse their position for personal gain, without fear of accountability or consequences. … If we allow the president to abuse his or her power, then our society will rot from top to bottom. We will turn into a banana republic, where people in positions of power—from the president all the way down to the traffic cop—will feel it’s OK to abuse their power with no consequences.
Earlier this week, Tulsi said, “I have had concerns for a long time about impeachment being pursued for partisan reasons.” Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that she believes the process is proceeding for partisan reasons, but rather that she has been concerned about that possibility. I sense her larger concern is about the public perception that impeachment is being pursued solely because of partisan politics and the effect that may have on further dividing the country.
Tulsi added, “Pursuing impeachment for partisan reasons is something that will only further divide an already divided country and it actually undermines our democracy.” Again, although it sounds like she is implying that that is what is happening, that is not what she is actually saying. She is simply recognizing the obvious.
In any case, Tulsi’s current position on Trump’s impeachment remains up in the air. Her position as of this week is, “I am undecided on how I am going to vote.” The House Judiciary Committee voted (by party line) this morning in favor of two articles of impeachment. The articles will now be sent to the full House for a vote next week. The House will vote in favor of impeaching Trump. The Senate will take up the articles in January. The Senate will vote not to impeach. Trump will remain in office and run for re-election next year.
It is no secret how Tulsi feels about Trump. On at least one occasion on video, she has referred to Trump as “corrupt.” Earlier this year, she aimed the following words at Trump:
For you (Donald Trump) to think that you can pimp out our proud service men and women to the Prince of Saudi Arabia is disgraceful. President Trump, your words and actions are a betrayal of my brothers and sisters in uniform, the American people and our Constitution. My fellow service members and I, we are not your prostitutes. You are not our pimp.
She has also said this about Trump…
The President (Donald Trump) is inciting racism and violence in our country, as a whole. This is what’s so dangerous about what he’s doing. He’s using his platform to incite this racism and bigotry, when really he’s just doing it for his own political game. And so when President Trump says love it or leave it, what he’s really saying is… love me or leave. He’s making it about himself, saying that if you disagree with Trump, you disagree with his views, then you should leave. And you don’t belong here, and I think that’s really what’s so dangerous is… he is seeing himself as America rather than recognizing the fundamental values of our country are based on our freedom of speech… to agree or to disagree.
Very strong, harsh words indeed. Yeah, there is clearly no love lost or much respect in this sentiment for the guy. However, Tulsi may still find it difficult to vote in favor of the articles of impeachment. Not because she thinks Trump is innocent of having abused the power of the Office of the Presidency. Not because she doesn’t think he obstructed Congress. But rather because of the idea that impeachment would further divide Americans. Of course, the problem with that is that Trump’s impeachment by the House is now a foregone conclusion.
So Tulsi may as well just go ahead and vote her conscience. I believe that would be the right thing for her to do in terms of integrity. That vote may cost her some votes from luke-warm Trump supporters and independents in a general election and it would also weaken her ability to lead and build a coalition of support and goodwill among opposing political camps should she win the Presidency. But right now Tulsi needs to worry more about winning the Democratic nomination.
If Tulsi should choose to vote against the articles of impeachment, that vote will surely be used against her in the primaries and will help solidify the absurd notions spread by Hillary and media people like MSNBC’s Joy Reid that Tulsi is a “Russian asset” or that there’s something fishy about her that makes her an “odd fit for a party of Democrats.” It would doom any small shot she still has for the nomination.
Having said all this, if Tulsi’s conscience leans toward sensing Trump has done nothing that rises to the level of impeachment, then I encourage her to stick with her conscience as well. I would disagree with her analysis and her vote, but I would respect her for not trashing her own integrity.