The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to kill a resolution from a liberal Democratic lawmaker to impeach President Donald Trump as a majority of Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the move.
Rep. Al Green of Texas said Trump had associated his presidency with causes rooted in bigotry and racism. To back his claim, Green cited incidents such as Trump's blaming both sides for violence at the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and his recent sharing of hateful, anti-Muslim videos which were posted online by a fringe British extremist group.
"Friends, whether we like it or not, we now have a bigot in the White House who incites hatred and hostility," Green wrote in a letter to colleagues on Tuesday.
After Green's resolution was read aloud, the House voted 364-58 against the resolution. The majority of Democrats, 126 in all, voted with Republicans, who lead the lower house.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, said in a statement shortly before the vote that while "legitimate questions have been raised about his fitness to lead this nation… now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment."
Several Democratic lawmakers expressed serious reservations with the effort, saying it was premature to act before special counsel Robert Mueller's team completes its investigation into Russia's meddling in last year's election, and allegations that the Trump team was involved.
Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan said his fellow Democratic lawmakers cannot allow themselves to be drawn into a process "that's not thoughtful or complete or might not even be the conclusion we ought to draw."
"We ought to let Mr. Mueller complete his full investigation rather than engage in what would essentially be a public relations stunt," Kildee said. "This is a serious thing. It ought not to be done on a whim."
Green said on the House floor that he planned to take the road less traveled in seeking Trump's impeachment. He's convinced it's a road worth traveling, but he said, "I ask that no one take this journey with me."
Pelosi has said any impeachment drive should wait until there's evidence of an impeachable offence.
Some Democrats tried talking Green out of his plan. They did the same in October, when he proposed a similar resolution but never demanded a vote on it.
Opposing Green's resolution puts Democrats at risk of angering the party's rabidly anti-Trump voters.