U.S. Rep. Trent Franks moved quickly Thursday to clarify his call for the impeachment of President Barack Obama over his refusal to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Some conservatives have interpreted the president’s stance as an unwillingness to fulfill his oath of office to uphold the Constitution.
|U.S. Rep. Trent Franks
When a reporter for the left-leaning ThinkProgress.org blog asked the Arizona Republican Wednesday whether either the president or Attorney General Eric Holder should be subject to impeachment, he replied: “If it could gain the collective support, absolutely. I called for Eric Holder to repudiate the policy to try terrorists within our civil courts, or resign. So it just seems like that they have an uncanny ability to get it wrong on almost all fronts.”
On Thursday, Franks’ office issued the following statement from the congressman in an effort to clarify his position: "The sole purpose of my response to a distorted question was to emphasize that Congress should do everything within its power to ensure the president fulfills his constitutional duty to abide by and enforce all laws equally, rather than picking and choosing only those laws that happen to align with his ideology.
"For President Obama to attempt to appoint himself as the sole arbiter of whether a law is or isn't constitutional amounts to an abrogation of presidential duty and an overt power grab on the part of this administration,” he stated.
In the interview with ThinkProgress.org, Franks also said he would support defunding the Department of Justice, if Holder refuses to reverse course on defending legal challenges to the DOMA.
The act holds that states do not have to accept the validity of a marriage granted in another state. President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1996 after both chambers of Congress passed it.
Asked whether the clarification means that the congressman is standing by his call for Obama’s impeachment, a spokesman in Frank’s office told Newsmax via e-mail: “He isn't currently planning on taking any steps to begin impeachment proceedings and feels the attention in this situation is being completely misplaced on his remarks, instead of the administration's power grab, which is the real issue.”
The journalist interviewing Franks referred to an exclusive Newsmax interview in which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an oft-mentioned 2012 GOP presidential prospect, said “replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama is a very dangerous precedent.”
Gingrich urged House Republicans to pass a resolution directing the president to “obey his own constitutional oath.” If Obama then refused to enforce the Act, he said, Congress should defund the attorney general’s office.
When asked if Obama should be subject to articles of impeachment, Gingrich told Newsmax: “I think that’s something you get to much later. But I think clearly it is a dereliction of duty. Clearly it’s a violation of his constitutional oath. Clearly it is not something that can be allowed to stand."
In his Newsmax interview, Gingrich added: “I don’t think these guys set out to create a constitutional crisis. I think they set out to pay off their allies in the gay community and to do something that they thought was clever. I think they didn’t understand the implication that having a president personally suspend a law is clearly unconstitutional.”
Gingrich issued a statement after the interview stating that he was not calling for impeachment, nor did he believe it was an appropriate course of action.
To read the exclusive Newsmax interview with Newt Gingrich and see the video — Click Here Now.
To read the Newsmax story in which House Speaker John Boehner expresses outrage over President Obama’s stance on DOMA — Click Here Now.
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