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McClintock after failed Mayorkas impeachment: Marjorie Taylor Green should ‘read the Constitution’

By Jake Beardslee · February 7, 2024

In brief…

  • Rep. McClintock defended voting against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas
  • The impeachment effort failed by a 214-216 vote, with some Republican opposition
  • Mayorkas dismissed it as baseless and unconstitutional
A Republican effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas was narrowly defeated in the House amid arguments it abused impeachment powers for political gain.  Tom McClintock/Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America/Wikimedia

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) defended his decision to vote against the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday, after helping to block the move the previous night. McClintock was joining by two other Republicans, Reps. Ken Buck (Colo.) and Mike Gallagher (Wis.), in siding with all Democrats to vote down the impeachment 214-216.

The vote came despite pressure from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a leading proponent of impeaching Mayorkas. She said McClintock was “clearly” not paying attention to what the American people want and accused him of failing his oath of office by not having the “courage to read the room,” The Hill reported.

In response, McClintock said on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” “Well, instead of reading the room, I’d suggest that maybe she read the Constitution she took an oath to support and defend.” He argued that the grounds for impeachment in the Constitution are very specific, and this effort “dumbs down those grounds dramatically and would set a precedent that could be turned against the conservatives on the Supreme Court or a future Republican administration the moment the Democrats take control of the Congress.”

McClintock had published a 10-page memo the day before laying out his issues with Mayorkas’ handling of immigration at the southern border, but concluding the Republican Party had failed to identify an impeachable offense. “Clearly the founders worried that the power of impeachment could be used to settle political disputes and so searched for limiting language to avoid such abuse,” he wrote.

The Department of Homeland Security dismissed the impeachment effort as “baseless” and facing “bipartisan opposition.” The slender margin by which it was defeated will likely encourage Republicans to try again in the future. Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah) switched his vote to “no” at the last minute as a procedural move allowing the party to reintroduce the legislation.