For the first time in the 2020 campaign, Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden is calling for President Trump to be impeached, part of a coordinated effort apparently designed to boost his campaign’s fading fortunes and calm concerned supporters.
Biden is clinging to a narrow two-point lead over Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s surging candidacy in the Granite State as she builds a base of progressive support in early-state contests.
At a rally in Rochester, N.H. on Wednesday, Biden broke with his previous “let the process play out” position to call for Trump’s removal from office, a position seemingly out of sync with the more centrist approach of his overall campaign.
“Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts. To preserve our Constitution, our democracy and our basic integrity, he should be impeached.”
“We all laughed when said he could stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it. It’s no joke! He is shooting holes in the Constitution and we cannot let him get away with it,” Biden added.
Biden’s campaign then promptly sent out a fundraising email referencing his call for Trump’s removal from office and urging his supporters to send cash.
“Trump should be impeached,” the email read. “I want to make something perfectly clear: Trump did this because — like every bully in history — he’s afraid. He’s afraid of just how badly I would beat him next November.” Biden’s fundraising in the most recent quarter lagged behind even lower-tier candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Team Trump immediately hit back with a new TV ad attacking Biden and Democrats over the impeachment issue. “Democrats want to overturn the election,” the ad claims. “Don’t let them.”
“Well, he’s falling like a rock,” President Trump said when asked about Biden’s call for his impeachment during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t think he’s going to make it. And he didn’t say that [call for impeachment] until right now. He sees what’s happening with his campaign and he’s no longer the frontrunner.”
In a tweet earlier in the day, Trump indulged in some political punditry: “So pathetic to see Sleepy Joe Biden…calling for my impeachment – and I did nothing wrong. Joe’s Failing Campaign gave him no other choice!”
While Trump’s clearly a partisan, many objective political observers agree with his premise that Biden’s impeachment shift is based in part on his need to move toward his party’s progressive base. Previously Biden’s argument had focused on defeating Trump at the ballot box, but with recent polls showing more than 80 percent of Democrats demanding impeachment, Biden had little choice but to make a change.
The RNC, which has been organizing #StopTheMadness rallies across the country to push back against the Democrats’ impeachment plans –including a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire last Monday — also launched a new attack on Biden Wednesday afternoon, labeling the former vice president “Quid Pro Joe.”
“While Joe Biden continues to sweep the corruption surrounding him and his family under the rug, the American people are growing restless,” RNC Spokesperson Nina McLaughlin said in a statement. “Voters around the country are sick of the baseless impeachment claims against President Trump, and they want answers on Quid Pro Joe’s conflicts of interest from his time as Vice President.”