House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is increasingly struggling to keep Democrats in line and appears to be following her members on crucial issues rather than leading them.
On Wednesday, House Democrats introduced a motion to impeach President Trump, despite Pelosi’s insistence for months that Democrats hold off on pushing impeachment. Fifty-eight Democrats voted in favor of impeachment on Wednesday, despite Pelosi’s objections.
“Now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment,” Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said in a joint statement.
Pelosi’s hesitance to push impeachment has put her at odds with left-wing activist groups who have been demanding Trump’s impeachment since before he was even sworn into office.
Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers’ resignation last Friday represented another victory for House Democrats who have bucked Pelosi’s authority.
Sworn affidavits signed by four of his former staffers describe Conyers, who resigned on Friday, as a serial sexual harasser who preyed on his female staffers and demanded sexual favors from them. Conyers also allegedly abused taxpayer resources to pursue sexual relationships with women.
Pelosi initially defended the 88-year-old Conyers as “an icon” and deferred to a House Ethics Committee investigation — a process that can stretch out for years.
It took Pelosi 10 days to call for the establishment Democrat’s resignation, which she did only after facing the prospect of a revolt from members furious over Conyers remaining in office. (RELATED: Democrat Accused Of Sexual Harassment: Pelosi Knew And Did Nothing About It)
The first two Democrats to demand Conyers’ resignation were New York Rep. Kathleen Rice — who has said for months that she thinks Pelosi should step down from her leadership position — and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a first-term congresswoman.
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi for House Minority Leader last year, similarly pressured Democratic leadership, demanding last Wednesday that the investigation into Conyers finish up by the end of the week. (RELATED: Democrat Accused Of Sexual Harassment: Pelosi Knew And Did Nothing About It)
That same day, Rice, a second-term congressman stormed out of a meeting with House Democrats about Conyers because she didn’t believe they were taking the matter seriously enough.
New York Rep. Joseph Crowley and California Rep. Linda Sanchez — chair and vice-chair of the House Democratic Caucus, respectively — took the opposite position that day, urging restraint and trying to draw the process out.
“I don’t know all the facts, I don’t know the specific allegations,” Sanchez said, adding that she “can’t sit and judge a member and call for their resignation unless I’ve been party to hearing all of the evidence and hearing the defense of the evidence.”
“Calling for the resignation of someone doesn’t actually create the resignation,” said Crowley, adding that he would wait for the ethics committee’s investigation.
The very next day, Pelosi, Crowley and Sanchez caved to their more junior colleagues and demanded Conyers’ resignation.
Full disclosure: Kathleen Rice is a distant family relative of this reporter.