Speaker Mike Johnson and House Republicans were handed a “stunning” and “humiliating” defeat earlier this week, when their sham resolution seeking to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas failed by the slimmest of margins. The vote, which followed months of baseless accusations and incendiary rhetoric by Republicans targeting the highest ranking Latino in the Biden administration, failed 214-216.
But even though their effort this week was not successful, it should be deeply troubling that a baseless impeachment inquiry that turned up zero evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors” failed by just a handful of votes. GOP House leaders have already indicated they will try again – and they’ll continue this bogus effort with likely help from Rep. Jen Kiggans (VA-02), who was among 214 Republicans to vote to remove the Secretary.
In the days and weeks leading up to the vote, Rep. Kiggans and House Republicans ignored advice from constitutional scholars, legal experts, and, among numerous influential voices, former DHS chiefs under two presidential administrations, who warned the impeachment effort “would jeopardize our national security.” They wrote his removal “could undermine the mission for which the Department was created — preventing terrorism.”
But the baseless impeachment effort itself has endangered communities across the U.S. Extreme members of the House have repeatedly peddled white nationalist “invasion” rhetoric and antisemitic replacement conspiracy theory as part of their effort against Mayorkas, who is a Jewish Cuban-American refugee.
“You don’t have to be a Holocaust survivor like me to be concerned,” wrote Abraham Foxman, former National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. “The murderer who shot at a synagogue in Poway, CA claimed that Jews were responsible for the genocide of ‘white Europeans.’ Mayorkas has publicly warned against the growth of conspiracy and hate fueled extremist violence.”
A letter from 17 Jewish organizations, led by HIAS and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs also wrote: “As Jewish organizations grappling with the real-world consequences of rising hate and extremism, we are deeply concerned that the effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will further normalize dangerous antisemitic, white supremacist, and anti-immigrant conspiracy theories.”
In the past couple days, the FBI announced the arrest of a Tennessee man who, outraged over an alleged “invasion” of the U.S. by migrants, sought to join the recent border convoy to shoot and maim. “Every time an elected official publicly embraces the rhetoric of the replacement and invasion conspiracy, they are contributing to a climate where someone with hate in their heart and a gun in their hand believes they should take matters into their own hands,” America’s Voice Political Director Zachary Mueller said.
Rep. Kiggans is also contributing to this climate, by supporting a totally baseless impeachment effort fueled by deadly white nationalist rhetoric and antisemitic conspiracy theories. However, it is still not too late to do the right thing. Will she defend the rule of law by opposing the continuation of this sham impeachment effort? Or will she choose party over country and continue normalizing dangerous rhetoric that puts a target on the backs of communities?