House Majority Whip James Clyburn isn’t mincing any words or playing any games anymore. Donald Trump is one of “the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime,” he told NBC News. And then he went there.
“Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany. And he went about the business of discrediting institutions to the point that people bought into his stuff,” he said, pointing out that Hitler’s path from chancellor to dictator was essentially unimpeded. “Nobody would have believed it now. But swastikas hung in churches throughout Germany. We had better be very careful.”
His message was for the traditional media and his colleagues in Congress. “To allow anybody to discredit the press, discredit the military, to discredit our leadership in—both in the Congress and outside—we are asking for dire consequences and I think it’s time for the Congress, House and Senate, to grow spines and do what is necessary to protect this democracy,” he said. “This man and his family are the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime.”
He also is willing to go where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t, at least not yet. Impeachment is within the realm of possibility, he suggested, even with a Republican Senate. “I think all of us know that impeachment is a political concept,” he said, but “if the committees do their work properly, they will be able to bring the public along with them. They will be able to set the tone for impeachment if that is deserved.” There is still Mitch McConnell, so Clyburn might be giving a little too much credit there.
But the case does still need to be made. Robert Mueller must be able to finish his work, and the results of it must be provided to the people. And impeachment needs to be restored as a usable tool for securing our democracy.