Effort to censure Trump doesn’t appear to be gaining ground with Michigan Dems or Republicans

President Donald J. Trump, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, at the InterContinental New York Barclay in New York City. | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr Public Domain

WASHINGTON — A Michigan Democrat wants her party to move full-steam ahead on impeachment, even as reports surfaced that some moderate Democrats in the U.S. House are considering an effort to censure President Donald Trump rather than impeach him. 

Brenda Lawrence | Andrew Roth

“I will be voting to support impeachment,” U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) told the Advance on Tuesday during a brief interview on Capitol Hill. 

“With all the investigations and hearings, it just strengthened my position that impeachment, that the articles of impeachment are warranted,” Lawrence said hours after Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against the president. 

Lawrence said she would have preferred the articles to include additional allegations of the president “to show just a consistent pattern of disregard for policy and the laws, but they chose two.” She added, “these two are very clear for me.” 

Lawrence said on a Detroit podcast in November that she wanted Trump censured, but has stressed since then that she remains a proponent of impeachment. 

Lawrence backs off impeachment, wants Trump censured

“He’s done so much, impeachment I think is the highest that we can go,” she said Tuesday. “I’m very much in support and we’re going to move forward with impeachment, I’m very strong on that.” 

Politico reported earlier Tuesday that about 10 vulnerable House Democrats in districts Trump won were floating the censure idea. The group includes U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), and Ben McAdams (D-Utah.). 

“I think it’s certainly appropriate and might be a little more bipartisan, who knows,” Schrader told Politico about the possibility of a censure resolution. 

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), a former Pentagon official who beat a GOP incumbent in 2018, was one of seven freshmen with national security credentials to pen a September op-ed in the Washington Post signing on to an impeachment inquiry. That helped turn the tide and pushed U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to act.  

Slotkin, Dingell, 6 freshmen back impeachment inquiry

The Advance asked Slotkin on Tuesday if she supported censuring Trump or would vote for impeachment.

“I’m going to look at the full body of information, read it thoroughly and make an objective decision,” Slotkin said in a statement. “It’s probably the most serious consideration I’ll give anything in my one year in Congress.”

The office of U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills), another member who flipped a GOP seat last year, did not respond to requests for comment.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton | Andrew Roth

On the other side of the aisle, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) voted against Democrats’ resolution earlier this year to move ahead on the impeachment inquiry and indicated Tuesday that he’ll vote against the articles of impeachment. 

“Seems like a little bit of a rush to judgment,” he said Tuesday, but stressed that he hadn’t yet read the language of the articles. 

“I don’t want to formally answer that because I do want to see what the language is. It’s a little premature to answer before I actually see it.” 

He called censure “a whole different equation,” but said he thinks Democrats would have difficulty getting the votes. 

“They would probably lose a good number of Dems who would insist on impeachment and have for a long time, so they would probably vote no, maybe even a majority,” he said. 

“It would be a significant number of [Democrats] would vote no, which means the only way to pass that would be to rely on an equal amount of Republicans that might vote for it, which is unlikely.” 

Rep. Tim Walberg | Twitter

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) said he doesn’t expect any Republicans to support an effort to censure Trump. 

“I don’t think there’s any reason with the polling that’s showing right now this is helping Donald Trumps re-election,” he said. “I won’t be there.”

Robin Bravender
Michigan native Robin Bravender is the Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit news publications, including the Michigan Advance. Previously, Robin was a reporter for Politico, E&E News and Thomson Reuters.
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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.