Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump and his allies weren’t shy about using the specter of impeachment during the 2018 midterm campaign to rally the President’s core supporters to the polls.
And for their 2020 campaign, they were prepared to use the real thing. With House Democrats newly in the majority and the prospects of impeachment surging, Trump and his political allies — while certainly not hankering for it — have eyed the potential political upside: using a Democratic impeachment as a powerful foil to galvanize Republicans in droves to re-elect Trump.
Several of the President’s political advisers, preparing for a re-election campaign focused on boosting turnout among the President’s base of supporters, have looked to the possibility of Trump’s impeachment as an opportunity to cast Trump as a victim of Washington politics and overzealous Democrats, three sources close to the White House and the campaign said. And with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — which Trump has frequently cast on the campaign trail as a “witch hunt” — expected to end soon, Trump is looking for a new boogeyman.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is throwing cold water on those prospects, declaring in an interview published Monday that she is “not for impeachment.”
“I’m not for impeachment. This is news,” Pelosi told The Washington Post. “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.”
The comments amounted to Pelosi’s strongest to date on the prospects of impeaching Trump and while she did not entirely close the door on the possibility, her comments indicated that she is loath to hand the President a deeply divisive issue to rev up his base and drive the conversation away from policy issues.
“I think it was really smart on her part,” a senior Republican operative close to the campaign said of Pelosi. “Why go through a lengthy drawn out fight over something that’s going to be divisive and energize the President’s base when there’s an election coming up and you can win that?”
Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader and a close ally of Trump’s, also tipped his hat in Pelosi’s direction: “I think Nancy Pelosi is smart to say that there shouldn’t be an impeachment because there are no grounds to do it.”
Trump, for his part, took to Twitter to say he “greatly” appreciates Pelosi’s comments.