Before a Senate vote is taken on either article of impeachment approved by the House, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has suggested censuring President Donald Trump instead.
A very bad idea, in my book.
"I see no path to the 67 votes required to impeach President Trump and haven’t since this trial started," Manchin said Monday.
He should have left it at that — but didn’t.
"However, I do believe a bipartisan majority of this body would vote to censure President Trump for his actions in this matter," he added.
Manchin finds himself as a Democrat representing a deep red state.
Like King Solomon, Manchin suggests splitting the baby.
Unlike Solomon, Manchin’s suggestion is no ploy to get at the truth. It’s merely a suggestion no one — especially no Republican — should take seriously.
And here’s why:
A sham impeachment should not be rewarded with the halfway measure of censure, one that will be viewed by the public as an “impeachment-lite.”
The president will soon be acquitted by the Senate. Under our judicial system, if you are not found guilty, you are presumed innocent.
The Democrats aren’t pleased with this fundamental principle of justice.
Manchin’s latest tactic re-affirms the Democrats have been using the impeachment process for political point scoring.
And remember, no constitutional provision for censure exists.
The Constitution only provides impeachment as a remedy for wrongdoing committed by a sitting officeholder.
Censuring the president would begin a never-ending process. Every president would be subject to constant censure votes.
When President Barack Obama began ruling with “a pen and a phone” after encountering a recalcitrant Republican Congress, no one considered censure.
The same held true with President Ronald Reagan. Although an impeachment resolution was introduced over the Iran-Contra scandal, no one considered censure after the resolution ultimately failed.
Censuring would be a waste of time, divide the country further, and just like impeachment, would ultimately fail.
Manchin has an ulterior motive for censuring.
He knows such a vote won’t hurt Trump as much as it will squeeze Senate Republicans who hail from swing states.
Clearly he is targeting Republicans such as Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Martha McSally of Arizona — all in tough re-election races this year.
Manchin wants them to make a tough decision. He knows that if they don’t vote for censure, they’ll lose support from independent voters.
If they vote for censure, they could lose GOP support.
The Senate should not fall for Manchin’s ruse.
Let the voters decide about president’ job performance come November.
Until then, it’s time for Congress to get back to work and stop the political games.
Mike Dorstewitz contributed to this article.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax, one of the country's leading conservative news outlets. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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