Trump has said that impeachment is a 'horror show' on a president's permanent record.
Donald Trump has talked a lot lately about how he is not worried about impeachment, even claiming it might be beneficial for his reelection bid.
However, Trump's behavior and past comments are a surefire sign he knows exactly what impeachment would mean for his legacy — and that the consequences of being impeached are not good.
Take, for example, Trump's comments in 2014.
That year, the then-real estate mogul called into "Fox & Friends" — which now effectively serves as a propaganda arm of the White House — to talk about a possible effort to impeach President Barack Obama. At the time, a columnist at a Las Vegas newspaper had called for Obama to be impeached and replaced with Trump.
"Do you think Obama seriously wants to be impeached and go through what Bill Clinton did?" Trump said in a phone interview at the time. "He would be a mess. He would be thinking about nothing but. It would be a horror show for him. It would be an absolute embarrassment. It would go down on his record permanently."
Here's video of Trump in 2014 saying what being impeached would do to Obama: "He would be a mess. He would be thinking about nothing but. It would be a horror show for him. It would be an absolute embarrassment. It would go down on his record permanently." pic.twitter.com/WctYjnjsP1
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) December 18, 2019
Trump echoed some of that language in the six-page diatribe he sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, arguing against his own impeachment.
In that letter, Trump wrote that impeachment is a "terrible thing" but that Pelosi "will have to live with it, not I!" And he went on to say that he wrote this letter "to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record."
Trump also wrote in the letter to Pelosi that he has "no doubt that the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election" — a claim unsupported by public polling, which shows a larger number of Americans support Trump's impeachment than not.
Trump also commented about impeachment multiple times during the 2016 election.
In September 2015, Trump gave a speech at a conservative gathering, and told a story about how Obama apparently wanted to be impeached — though it's unclear what Trump was basing that claim off of.
"Do you really think they want him to be impeached?" Trump said
He added later, "Who wants to be impeached?" — a rhetorical question suggesting that no president wants to have such a stain on their record.
In January 2016, Trump was asked about whether he believed Bill Clinton had been a good president. At the time, it appeared likely Trump would face off with Hillary Clinton in that year's general presidential election. (He ultimately did and won, though Clinton took the popular vote by a margin of 2.1%.)
Trump said that he thought former President Clinton had been "hurt very badly" by the "scandals" that led to his impeachment.
"It's part of his legacy. I mean, the scandals were devastating," Trump said of Clinton's impeachment. "He was impeached. He was impeached. He was brought before Congress. I mean, he was impeached. And that was — very few people — very few presidents that were impeached. So that hurt him very much. The scandals were a big part of his legacy, unfortunately, for him."
As recently as Tuesday night, Trump was casting off public concern over his own impeachment, saying he wasn't worried about the House vote the following day.
Past reports have shown, however, that Trump is deeply apprehensive about the idea of such a mark on his record.
Axios reported in October that Trump had expressed those concerns to a group of House Republicans. According to sources with knowledge of the conversation who spoke to the outlet, during a phone call with the lawmakers, Trump said impeachment was a "bad thing to have on your resume." One source claimed Trump had said specifically that "you don't want it [impeachment] on your resume."
The House is poised to pass two articles of impeachment against him by the end of the day on Wednesday, one for abuse of power and another for obstruction of Congress. The two articles relate to Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, and his attempt to withhold crucial aid to the country to secure such an investigation.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.