The long-discussed impeachment process of President Trump has begun with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of an official inquiry several weeks ago. In a speech on Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden joined the call for Trump’s impeachment.
Biden’s statements mark his joining forces with many of his fellow Democratic presidential candidates, and amount to what some call his sharpest criticism of Trump yet. Trump was quick to fire back at Biden on Twitter, saying Biden’s remarks were “pathetic” and only came out of “Joe’s Failing Campaign.”
Trump has made other accusations against the Bidens recently, including that Biden intervened to remove Ukraine’s chief prosecutor to save a Ukrainian energy company where his son was a board member. In addition, the president called for China to probe the business of Hunter Biden (former Vice President Biden’s son) in that country, which is rather out of character considering the trade war Trump and China have been waging for the past few years.
Biden, publicly denouncing Trump’s statements, also said that they were brought to light only because the President is “afraid of just how badly I will beat him next November.”
The feud between the President and the former Vice President came only a day after White House counsel Pat Cipollone told House Speaker Pelosi the administration would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. Cipollone called the accusations “baseless” and an unconstitutional effort to “overturn the democratic process.”
Meanwhile, some Republican Trump supporters are offering advice to the President to stay quiet about impeachment. “He should issue an ever-increasing stream of policy initiatives that have nothing to do with impeachment,” said Dick Morris, who advised Bill Clinton during his impeachment inquiry.
Inside the White House, staffers seem to be encouraging the President to follow the same route. Clinton, when faced with impeachment, curated his public image to appear unburdened by the proceedings and instead focused on other tasks befitting the POTUS. Based on Trump’s Twitter exchanges with Biden, however, this seems far from the case.
Some in the White House also believe that impeachment as it is now could be valuable for Trump’s reelection campaign. Since the inquiry was announced, donations to the campaign increased dramatically, and the mere fact there is an impeachment in question could swing many potential voters. Some might vote Democrat, thinking Trump’s impeachment justified, or more may be persuaded for Trump, thinking his opponents to be overreacting to his actions.
Trump’s stance on fighting his impeachment instead of ignoring it may also be helping his reelection, in keeping the same voters who backed him in 2016.
The American public remains divided on the issue, as is typical of an obstructionary and polarized political era. Where it will take Trump’s reelection strategy or Democrat popular opinion, it is difficult to say, but many Americans may agree with Biden, who stated that “by obstructing justice, refusing to comply with a congressional inquiry, he’s already convicted himself in full view of the world and the American people.”