Tom Daschle, a former Senate minority and majority leader representing South Dakota, warned his fellow Democrats of the consequences of impeaching President Trump for a second time.
Daschle’s remarks come as legislators from both parties face mounting pressure to impeach the president in the aftermath of rioting on Jan. 6 on Capitol Hill. Cautioning that impeachment would “galvanize” Trump supporters, Daschle argued that taking the step would be a “mistake.”
“An impeachment mechanism is just not the right course at all if they want to hold the president accountable,” he said during a Bipartisan Policy Center forum.
Daschle said that alienating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his caucus of GOP members would be counterproductive when the Democrats’ hold on power is so tenuous that a single defection could sink the party’s legislative agenda.
“Give Mitch McConnell reasons to be a partner, reasons to be cooperative,” he said. “Do that, I guarantee you, you’re going to accomplish twice, three, four times as much as you will otherwise.”
Instead, Daschle argued, the proper course of action for condemning Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 protests that overtook Capitol Hill would be via formal censure.
“[A censure vote would be] the most appropriate approach [because] it’s definitive, it’s final, [and] it doesn’t send the whole matter to the Senate and require another trial,” he said.
In the House of Representatives, more than 180 Democrats and five Republicans have announced that they support a second impeachment. In the Senate, conviction and removal could be likelier given that McConnell has reportedly privately signaled support for impeachment.