Trump, allies target vulnerable Democrats ahead of House impeachment vote

Colby Itkowitz

With articles of impeachments against President Trump headed for a vote on the House floor next week, Trump and his allies have trained their sights on the Democrats who represent districts that supported Trump in 2016.

As public opinion on Trump’s impeachment remains splintered and mostly stagnant, more than half of the 31 Democrats targeted by Trump haven’t said yet how they’ll vote, but Democratic leadership has signaled they expect at most only six to 10 defectors.

On Saturday morning Trump tweeted, quoting conservative pundit Jason Meister, who zeroed in on those Democrats during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”

“There are 31 House Democrats in Trump won Congressional Districts. Those Dems will have to answer to their constituents come 2020,” Trump tweeted Meister saying. “The American people are going to speak up and speak out about this. I think this guarantees Trump’s re-election in 2020.”

Republicans have mounted an intense pressure campaign on those moderate Democrats in the so-called swing districts who helped deliver their party the House majority in 2018. Their offices have been inundated with calls and pro-Trump groups have already spent more than $10 million in ads against Democrats over the impeachment.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Saturday the office phone numbers and Twitter handles of the 31 Democrats, encouraging his 4.1 million followers to “Call non-stop, tweet at them, tell them this will NOT STAND & you’ll remember in Nov!”

“Enough! These Democrats in Trump districts said they were with @realDonaldTrump. They lied! — Now now its time to hear from OUR MOVEMENT,” he wrote.

Those Democrats who flipped Trump-won districts in 2018 credit their success to running on kitchen-table issues, namely health care and the promise to preserve protections for people with preexisting health conditions; none claimed “they were with” Trump.

Only one of the Democrats in Trump’s crosshairs sits on the House Judiciary Committee that voted on strict partisan lines on the two articles of impeachment Friday morning. Rep. Lucy McBath (Ga.), who narrowly won her seat in 2018, said she voted her conscience.

“And I do so with a heavy heart, and a grieving soul,” she said in a statement on Wednesday night. “This is not why I came to Washington; I came to Washington because I love my country.”

Other freshmen Democrats in Republican-leaning districts have in recent days echoed similar sentiments about placing what they believe is right before politics.

“Party and politics will never come before the country I bled to protect — and would unquestionably do so again,” said Rep. Max Rose (N.Y.), an Afghanistan war veteran, on Friday.

Also announcing her support for impeachment Friday, Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.) said, “I took an oath of office to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This is a solemn decision. I end with this: Democracies live and die by the integrity of our elections.”

Paul Kane contributed to this story.