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Congressional Republicans, Pundits, & Reporters Agree: Mayorkas Impeachment Was Nothing But a Baseless, Unconstitutional Political Stunt

Feb 14, 2024

Watch Congressional Integrity Project’s new video on the waste of time
and lack of evidence in the Mayorkas political stunt 

Last night was a shameful day in our country’s history. Without a single shred of evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors, the MAGA Republican House Majority impeached Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. At the same time, at the direction of Donald Trump, House Republicans killed a bipartisan border deal. Everyone from former Republican DHS Secretaries, bipartisan constitutional scholars, and even Republicans’ own presidential impeachment witness agreed that this impeachment effort was unconstitutional. It’s clear that MAGA Republicans’ top goal is not to work on issues the American people care about, it’s to make sure they do everything they can to appease Donald Trump and help him get back to the White House in 2024. And without a doubt these misplaced priorities cost them dearly in the shellacking they took last night in the special congressional election in New York’s 3rd congressional district.

Criticism from Congressional Republicans & Strategists

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), National Review (Opinion): Impeaching Mayorkas Was a Violation of the Constitution.

  • “[T]he standard for impeachment is not a failed policy — no matter how reckless or unpopular it may be. The standard for impeachment, which the Constitution lays out in clear language, is “treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Maladministration, incompetence, and a blatant disregard for the American people’s wishes are notably absent from the list. The speaker of the House, apparently aware that this impeachment effort fell short of the Constitution’s standard, said recently on a Sunday talk show, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Our Founders crafted the Constitution in anticipation of desperate times and deep partisan divides. One might even say that desperate times, especially, call for fidelity to the Constitution.”

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Co): “This Is A Terrible Impeachment. It Sets A Terrible Precedent.”

“No. The reality is, the facts didn’t change in my opinion of him. I prosecuted for 25 years. I know what a high crime and misdemeanor are and I know that this doesn’t qualify. This is a policy difference. You can try to put lipstick on this pig. It is still a pig. And this is a terrible impeachment. It sets a terrible precedent…And we’ve got to stop this in this body, or we are going to lose our credibility with the– further lose our credibility with you the American public.”

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA): “Swapping one leftist for another is a fantasy, solves nothing, excuses Biden’s culpability, and unconstitutionally expands impeachment that someday will bite Republicans.”

Rep. French Hill (R-AR.): Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will pay the “public relations price for President Biden’s handling of the border when he is impeached by the House.

Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) said an impeachment of Sec. Mayorkas is a waste of time.

Republican Sen. James Lankford (R-OK): “It’ll fail in the Senate…If I could use the House term, it’ll be dead on arrival when it comes over.

Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND): Impeachment is “obviously dead on arrival” and “the worst, dumbest exercise and use of time.

Republican Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS): [I]mpeachment … is never the answer just to disagreements on policy.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD): It’s a path when you start down that — I think you have to think long and hard about that, because it’s been a long time since it’s been triggered for somebody at the Cabinet level.”

Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV): I still don’t think we should be impeaching somebody every two or three months.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): They’re taking a fast track to condemning something they know nothing about, and they’re taking a fast track to using impeachment without doing their homework.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “We have some [other] things to do. I’d like us all to be working really fast on appropriations.”

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT): I haven’t heard yet any evidence to suggest that there’s been a constitutional standard met for impeachment…The inquiries underway, we’ll see what they come up with, but so far they’ve got nothing.”

Mark Esper (Donald Trump’s Secretary of Defense): “I do not like the precedent of impeaching, doing this because it will become a tit-for-tat, and we need to avoid that type of stuff.”

Norman Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute): “In Over 50 Years Close To Congress, I Have Seen Nothing Close To This Immoral And Despicable Behavior.”

“Impeachment of Secretary Mayorkas, utterly without grounds, demonstrates again how utterly without moral values are House Republicans. In over 50 years close to Congress, I have seen nothing close to this immoral and despicable behavior. Their oaths mean nothing to them.”

Richard Painter (Chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush): “This Is Stupid. How About Fixing The Problem At The Border By Passing An Immigration Law?”

“This is stupid. How about fixing the problem at the border by passing an immigration law? Or do these jokers just want to whine about it and hope voters fall for it in November? House Republicans impeach Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas.”

Susan Del Percio (Republican Strategist): Voting To Impeach Secretary Mayorkas Shows “How Ridiculous The House Is Acting.

Impeaching Secretary Mayorkas will “show just how ridiculous the House is actingThey’re trying to impeach someone who’s trying to improve our border security. We can disagree by the means, but there was a bipartisan deal on the table.’”


The Washington Post: The contrived Mayorkas impeachment checked three GOP boxes

  • “On Tuesday night, the House Republican caucus managed to cobble together enough votes to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. This was not a bipartisan rebuke of Mayorkas; quite the contrary. The impeachment resolution passed by a one-vote margin, with three Republicans joining the Democrats in opposing it. It was also the second such vote this month; the first effort to impeach Mayorkas ended up as a tie. (A Republican who supported impeachment then flipped his vote to allow the measure to be reconsidered.) It was the vote opposing impeachment that was bipartisan.
  • “So why did House Republicans move forward anyway? There are at least three obvious reasons. The first is that it both reflects and reinforces the idea that impeachment is just something you do to someone you don’t like or want to make an example of. If Republicans truly thought Democrats had railroaded Trump for political reasons, then why not do the same to Mayorkas? If they didn’t really think that, though, the arrow points in the other direction: Why not target Mayorkas for political reasons and therefore suggest that this is how both parties use impeachment? Why not make Trump’s impeachments seem like part of a partisan pattern instead of Nixon-like anomalies?
  • “The second reason is that the overlapping world of right-wing legislators and media personalities has created enormous demand for such an impeachment and, therefore, enormous rewards. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), tapped as an impeachment manager for Mayorkas’s Senate trial, has sent out numerous fundraising emails focused on her involvement in the impeachment effort.”

MSNBC: ‘This Is All About Appeasing Donald Trump’: House GOP Impeaches Mayorkas, Without Clear Evidence.

Vox: House Republicans’ Mayorkas Impeachment Is A Sham.

  • “After an embarrassing flop last week, House Republicans successfully impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday.
  • For Republicans, impeachment is little more than their latest political stunt, and another aimed at keeping focus on the southern border and the issue of immigration ahead of the 2024 election. The vote is also an opportunity to try to distract from the GOP’s likely presidential nominee’s many legal problems by putting the attention on the Biden administration. And lastly, it’s a carrot that House Speaker Mike Johnson is using to generate goodwill with the far-right flank of the party as he battles to keep his leadership position and make progress on spending bills unpalatable to his most conservative colleagues.
  • Republicans’ push, then, is really an effort to increase the negative scrutiny on President Joe Biden ahead of the November election more than it’s about improving US immigration policy. Just last week, the GOP rejected a chance to actually make the changes to the border they’ve long been agitating for.”


Rolling Stone: House Republicans Who Killed Border Bill Impeach DHS Secretary.

  • “Mayorkas called the impeachment push a “baseless waste of valuable taxpayer time” in a scathing statement released in January. He may have a point, given that even as House Republicans attempted to oust Mayorkas from his position over his alleged failures in securing the border, they simultaneously blocked a potentially transformative immigration and border reform package. They did so at the behest of Donald Trump, who feared the legislation would grant President Joe Biden a political victory in an election year.

Mother Jones: The House Just Voted to Impeach Mayorkas. How Did We Get Here?

  • After failing to muster enough votes last week, House Republicans can now say they got nothing done and approved two articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Democrats and constitutional law experts have decried the proceedings, which charge Mayorkas with ‘willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law’ and ‘breach of public trust,’ as a baseless ‘political stunt.’” 
  • The House impeachment of Mayorkas will likely go down in history as one of the most futile uses of this constitutional power. Throughout, Republicans have had trouble distinguishing what makes Mayorkas’ conduct impeachable. Many wanted a crackdown at the border. But, as Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), one of the holdouts from the last impeachment told CNN, removing Mayorkas for disagreements on border policy would amount to ‘redefining the fundamental definition of impeachment’ away from misuse of power to political differences.”


MSNBC: Following Mayorkas’ impeachment, who will the GOP target next?

  • “What kind of precedent has the GOP set? We’ve apparently reached the point in American politics in which members of Congress no longer need evidence of high crimes to impeach officials they don’t like. This seems … problematic.”
  • “Who’s next? As far as I’m concerned, this is the question that matters most. If the campaign against Mayorkas had collapsed, House Republicans would likely have had little choice but to move on from their impeachment crusade. They might’ve even tried to pass a bill or two, which would’ve been a pleasant change of pace. But instead, they succeeded — emboldening GOP members who are little too fond of using impeachment as a partisan toy. As regular readers know, the House Republicans’ impeachment list is almost comically long, and no one should be surprised if the party starts preparing to impeach others, including President Joe Biden.”


Jennifer Bendery (HuffPost): “House Republicans Voted Tuesday To Impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ― Not For Any Legitimate Reason, But Because They Want To Help Donald Trump.”

“BREAKING: House Republicans voted Tuesday to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ― not for any legitimate reason, but because they want to help Donald Trump look tough on immigration issues ahead of the November presidential election.”

Philip Bump (Washington Post): “The Two Mayorkas Impeachment Votes Were Bipartisan Only In Opposition.”

“The two Mayorkas impeachment votes were bipartisan only in opposition. So why move forward? As a reinforcement of the political nature of impeachment, to meet and benefit from right-wing demand and because Biden is looming.”

Judd Legum (Popular Information): “The Fact That There Is No Justification For Mayorkas’ Impeachment Is A Feature, Not A Bug.”

“The fact that there is no justification for Mayorkas’ impeachment is a feature, not a bug. It’s about grandstanding about the border, yes. But it’s also about cheapening the act of impeachment itself, which is advantageous to Trump, who was impeached twice”

John Harwood (Journalist): “Baseless Demagogic Stunt, Designed To Fool Constituents Into Thinking They’re Taking Significant Action.”

“a baseless demagogic stunt, designed to fool constituents into thinking they’re taking significant action, that illustrates how degraded the House GOP has become”

Tim O’Brien (Bloomberg Opinion): “Craven Rodeo Clowns.”

“The House — after intentionally sabotaging a bi-partisan bill meant to address the immigration crisis at the southern border — votes to impeach Mayorkas for…wait for it…failing to address the immigration crisis at the border. Craven rodeo clowns.”