MONTPELIER – Rep. Peter Welch defended his recent call to impeach President Donald Trump at a State House town hall Monday night, where he doubled down on his criticism of the President’s tweets attacking four female Democratic House members.
“We can have a fight about what you stand for, and I might get criticized by some of you tonight for what I stand for,” he said. “That’s fair and square. But no one has the right to tell a person to go back where they came from.”
On Tuesday, Trump continued his criticism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, calling them a “Nightmare for America.”
In Montpelier, Welch framed impeachment — which he opposed as recently as May — as a constitutional issue rather than a strategic one. Right now, 89 House Democrats back beginning impeachment proceedings, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not among them.
Teddy Waszazak of Barre seemed to question Pelosi’s decision not to be more aggressive in calling for an inquiry to begin.
“I understand she is waiting for impeachment to start when the fever is highest,” Waszazak said. “But I really believe it is a constitutional duty that we can’t ignore.”
Welch said Pelosi “gets it.”
“She has a different job,” he said, “because the Speaker, more than anyone else, is the one that has to make that call. She takes her responsibility very seriously and I have a lot of confidence in the job she’s doing.”
Welch also condemned Trump’s “stonewalling” tactics in response to a flurry of Congressional investigations, saying the president is subject to the rule of law like everyone else.
“The President is acting as though he’s above the law and beyond the law when he completely rejects the Article I responsibilities of oversight in the House of Representatives,” he said.
Welch is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is set to question Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday. The House Judiciary Committee has also scheduled a hearing with Mueller.
Welch said he hopes Mueller will “have an opportunity to fluidly explain what’s in his report.”