With the House on course to vote on the impeachment of President Donald Trump next week, Trump and his allies have trained their sights on the Democrats who represent districts that supported the president in 2016.
As public opinion on Trump’s impeachment remains splintered and mostly stagnant, more than half of the 31 Democrats targeted by Trump haven’t said yet how they’ll vote, but Democratic leadership has signaled they expect at most six to 10 defectors.
On Saturday morning, Trump quoted conservative pundit Jason Meister, who zeroed in on those Democrats during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
“There are 31 House Democrats in Trump won Congressional Districts,” Trump tweeted Meister as saying. “Those Dems will have to answer to their constituents come 2020. … The American people are going to speak up and speak out about this. I think this guarantees Trump’s re-election in 2020.”
Republicans have mounted an intense pressure campaign on those moderate Democrats in the so-called swing districts who helped deliver their party the House majority in 2018. Their offices have been inundated with calls and pro-Trump groups have already spent more than $10 million in ads against Democrats over the impeachment.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Saturday the office phone numbers and Twitter handles of the 31 Democrats, encouraging his 4.1 million followers to call “non-stop, tweet at them, tell them this will NOT STAND & you’ll remember in Nov!”
“Enough! These Democrats in Trump districts said they were with @realDonaldTrump,” he wrote. “They lied! – Now now its time to hear from OUR MOVEMENT.”
Those Democrats who flipped Trump-won districts in 2018 credit their success to running on kitchen-table issues, namely health care and the promise to preserve protections for people with pre-existing health conditions; none claimed “they were with” Trump.
Only one of the Democrats in Trump’s crosshairs sits on the House Judiciary Committee that voted on strict partisan lines on the two articles of impeachment Friday morning. Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia, who narrowly won her seat in 2018, said she voted her conscience.
“And I do so with a heavy heart, and a grieving soul,” she said in a statement on Wednesday night. “This is not why I came to Washington; I came to Washington because I love my country.”
Other freshman Democrats in Republican-leaning districts have in recent days echoed similar sentiments about placing before politics what they say is right.
“Party and politics will never come before the country I bled to protect – and would unquestionably do so again,” Rep. Max Rose of New York, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said on Friday.
Also announcing her support for impeachment Friday, Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada said: “I took an oath of office to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This is a solemn decision. I end with this: Democracies live and die by the integrity of our elections.”
The Washington Post’s Paul Kane contributed to this story.
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