Even though Donald Trump’s overall approval ratings are brutal by any standard–41.1 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average–his support among Republicans is almost otherworldly. For instance, a recent Gallup poll found a whopping 90 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance. That’s more than double his overall approval rating of 42 percent, per that poll. With numbers like that, any Republican who dares oppose Trump risks being branded a Benedict Arnold.
Well, that scenario is no longer hypothetical. After a Republican congressman from Michigan became the first lawmaker from his party to call for Trump’s impeachment, one of the most prominent conservative talking heads all but called that congressman a traitor.
On Saturday, Congressman Justin Amash set the political world ablaze by becoming the first Republican lawmaker to call for Trump’s impeachment. Amash, who represents the same Grand Rapids-area district that was once represented by Gerald Ford, took to Twitter to claim that Attorney General William Barr had “deliberately misrepresented” special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.
Amash further argued that based on his own reading of the report, Trump engaged in “specific actions and a pattern of behavior” that amounted to obstruction of justice–and further argued that “undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States” would likely be up on charges based on Mueller’s findings.
Amash is no moderate Republican or Republican in Name Only. He has a lifetime rating of 87 from the American Conservative Union, and is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, the most unyieldingly conservative element of the House GOP. It can be argued that he is one of the “true believers” of the Republican freshman class of 2010; he describes himself as a supporter of “limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.”
That hasn’t saved him from a week of heavy bombardment. It started with a typical 280-character hissy fit from Trump himself.
His Freedom Caucus brethren formally rebuked him on Monday, and he has also been upbraided by RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He also faces a primary challenge from state representative Jim Lower.
But believe it or not, this was pat-a-cake stuff compared to what came from Mark Levin of Conservative Review on Monday night. He claimed that Amash’s call for impeachment was an act of treason against the Constitution. Listen here.
Levin contended Amash’s tweetstorm proved that he is far from being the “purist of the Constitution” that he claims to be. To Levin’s mind, it proved that Amash is quite the opposite–in his words, “a Benedict Arnold against the Constitution.”
To Levin’s mind, Amash was giving succor to a “war against the Constitution” waged by Mueller, the Obama, the mainstream media, and House Democrats. As he saw it, Amash’s compass is warped, because he wants Trump removed when he is a “victim.” He then repeated the usual right-wing shibboleth that any attempt to push out Trump would be an attack on the “63 million Americans” who voted for Trump.
Levin claimed that Mueller’s entire investigation was illegitimate, since the Constitution doesn’t provide for the appointment of a special counsel, and abused his power when he merely “speculate(d)” about Trump’s actions, and denied that Trump abused his power in any way.
Apparently Levin, like most of the right, must have been reading a different report than the one Amash and the rest of the nation read. Mueller ticked off numerous instances where Trump’s own aides refused to comply with Trump’s more egregious orders because they knew that they would face criminal liability of their own if they did so. Indeed, that may be the only thing that saved Trump from an indictment.
Levin’s whining about impeachment disenfranchising the people who voted for Trump ignores history. Remember, Richard Nixon was reelected in a 49-state landslide in 1972, with the third-largest margin of victory in history and the largest for a Republican. And yet, he was forced out of office in disgrace merely two years later. No one was complaining about Nixon’s potential impeachment disenfranchising 47 million voters. High crimes and misdemeanors don’t stop being high crimes and misdemeanors just because of the popular vote.
But then again, Levin is one of the last people to attempt to claim the moral high ground. He once all but called Mueller himself a Benedict Arnold when he pronounced his investigation a “threat to America.” So trying to get to the bottom of a hostile foreign power’s attempt to hack an election makes you the equivalent of Benedict Arnold? Got it.
Plus, earlier this month, Levin saw fit to pose with right-wing troll Jacob Wohl. No, this isn’t snark. Wohl posted it to Instagram.
Word to the wise, Mark. When you pose with a guy who openly admitted to trying to create social media botfarms, sent himself a fake death threat, and tried to rook innocent people into schemes to frame his political foes, you have no right to lecture anyone about anything.
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