As House Democrats keep moving forward with their articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, the president’s Republican allies in Congress keep lashing out. This week, as the House Judiciary Committee debated those articles of impeachment, prominent Trump shill and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz yelled out an angry rant that even included blaming Barack Obama for the exact behavior that Trump is not just accused of but has, in reality, been documented to have committed. Gaetz claimed that Obama unduly held up military aid for Ukraine — but that’s simply not true. That doesn’t mean he toned down the yelling!
As the debate dragged on, Gaetz mocked his Democratic colleagues, ranting:
‘I hear them crying these alligator tears, clutching their pearls over this notion that oh, Trump didn’t give this aid, we’ve got to go impeach him — where was all this concern about how to make the Ukraine great again when Obama was president? You want to know our substantive defense? It’s four things; they’ve never changed. I think Mr. Jordan dreams of them in his sleep. Both President Trump and President Zelensky said there was no pressure.’
Matt Gaetz falsely claims that Obama should have been impeached for withholding Ukraine aid. (Obama never withheld Ukraine aid). pic.twitter.com/PzkaL5CCnN
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) December 12, 2019
Judicial investigations are not abandoned just because the subject claims that they didn’t do anything wrong. Other claimed Republican defenses include the claim that Ukraine didn’t even know that aid had been held up specifically in connection to Trump’s demands that they produce dirt on the Bidens — although in fact, witness testimony has shown that they did know that, and the GOP has also claimed that since Ukraine ended up getting the military aid, Trump’s in the clear. Additionally, they’ve insisted that the record of a phone conversation Trump had with Ukraine’s president about baselessly supposed Biden corruption clears Trump of bribery allegations.
Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. An isolated instance in which Trump claims he’s in the clear doesn’t erase the entire rest of the case. Meanwhile, Obama never halted military aid to Ukraine at the level that Gaetz claimed this week and has insisted previously, including on Twitter and during an appearance on Fox News with host Jeanine Pirro. Politifact explains:
‘The Obama administration refused to provide lethal weapons in 2014… But the United States under Obama did provide extensive military and security aid but not lethal weapons.’
That’s pretty straightforward. Perhaps Gaetz simply hopes that his listeners didn’t actually look into the case any further — which isn’t exactly a strong basis for a defense of the president heading into a no doubt soon upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate.
If your stance can be upended by a simple Google search… that’s not solid ground.
Former Congressional staffer Kurt Bardella — who actually left the Republican Party during Trump’s time in office — commented in an NBC piece that the incessant yelling from people like Gaetz constitutes a deliberate attempt to drown out the truth rather than some kind of righteous indignation.
He wrote that they think:
‘If they yell loud enough and long enough, what they say about the circumstances of this impeachment inquiry will become truth. Their calculation is that by yelling about anything and everything, the American people will either be convinced or at the very least so annoyed they’ll stop watching. To the GOP, yelling seems to be both a demonstration of strength and a deliberate effort to wear down Democrats and any other Americans who care enough to tune in… The conservative approach during these hearings has been to treat every member’s time like it is a segment on Fox News.’
So in other words — they’ve got nothing.