Republican strategist Josh Holmes said on Saturday that Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi would “put her speakership at risk” by not holding a vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
“This is not going as planned,” Holmes told The Hill, noting that recent polling suggests that public opinion is shifting against impeachment.
For instance, according to a new poll from Emerson College, support for impeachment is down from 48 percent in October to 44 percent. When it comes to independent voters, according to the poll, 49 percent oppose impeachment.
Similarly, a Marquette University survey found that a majority of voters in battleground states such as Wisconsin no longer supports impeachment, with 53 percent of them reporting that Trump should not be impeached and removed from the White House.
Holmes, a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, noted that Pelosi — who long resisted calls for impeachment coming from progressive members of her caucus — now has to follow through.
“She basically held the liberals off in her caucus for a year plus,” he said, opining that the top Democrat is probably not surprised by how public opinion is shifting.
However, according to Holmes, Pelosi has to hold an impeachment vote in order to avoid putting her speakership at risk.
The strategist said that “if you’re going to basically set aside the entire work of the American people to turn the House of Representatives into a circus over an impeachment hearing, anything less than driving that to a conclusion in the House has to put her speakership at risk.”
Pelosi also faces the risk of having more Democrats vote against impeachment than Republicans vote for it, but she nevertheless has to hold a formal vote, according to Holmes.
“The idea that she couldn’t even bring it to a vote, I think it’s hard to express how bad that would be for her,” he said.
As The Hill notes, Republicans have suggested that the apparent shift in public opinion could force Pelosi to reconsider her support for impeachment. Trump echoed the sentiment during a recent appearance on Fox & Friends, stating that he does not expect the House to hold an impeachment vote, and pointing to polls.
Pelosi has not guaranteed that she will approve a vote on impeachment, prompting speculation that the House will censure the president, therefore not giving the GOP-controlled Senate the opportunity to hold a trial in which it would almost certainly not convict the president.
House Democrats are reportedly drafting four articles of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of bribery, obstruction of justice, obstruction of the United States Congress, and abuse of power.