‘I think I’m just going to hold that one for a little bit…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., knows he holds one of the most at-risk seats in Congress.
His refusal to answer a question about impeaching President Donald Trump showed just how great the pressure is to appease his constituents in the reliably red state while suppressing any hints of solidarity with his radically leftist colleagues in Congress.
The conservative America Rising PAC posted video of Jones awkwardly dodging the question—submitted by an audience member—at a book-tour event in Birmingham on Saturday.
Aware that he is being recorded, Jones reads the question and laughs: “Would the country be better off if Trump is impeached or beaten in 2020?”
Tucking the card into his shirt pocket, he replies, “Well, I think I’m just going to hold that one for a little bit,” Jones says. “I’m sure there’s a tracker here recording this.”
Despite a deluge of dark-money funding and media attention, a targeted misinformation campaign on social media using fake Russian bots, accusations of outside voters flooding the state and an array of scandals—including accusations of pedophilia—swirling around his controversial opponent, Jones still eked by with an advantage of only 1.7 percentage points over the former state Supreme Court chief justice.
Although Nancy Pelosi recently declared that she would not pursue impeachment against Trump barring clear bipartisan support, Jones’ position on impeachment could prove to be particularly significant.
Not only would bipartisan opposition help to derail partisan attempts to claim moral high-ground, but a recent rebuke of Trump’s national emergency declaration on the immigration crisis at the Mexican border showed that the president will need every bit of support possible if House Democrats do pursue impeachment.
The national emergency rebuke—though largely symbolic as Trump had promised a veto—may have been a sort of loyalty test for Trump and his agenda.
A dozen GOP senators voted against the president on the emergency declaration, including libertarian free-agent Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as well as frequent Trump foes like Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; and Susan Collins, R-Maine.
While Jones and all his Democratic colleagues voted to pass the rebuke, the total fell eight votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.
The same majority would be necessary if the Senate, following an impeachment trial, were to vote on whether to find Trump guilty and remove him from office.
Facing a similar position during the impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton, voters made their voice heard in the 1998 midterm, reversing a massive Republican wave in Congress.
Several prominent GOP leaders, including House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., were forced out in the wake.
Jones will face re-election next year.
With the majority in the upper-chamber at stake and turnouts likely to be massive, his seat will be one of the most closely watched in the contentious political free-for-all.