Val Demings ‘encouraged’ by McConnell’s break from Trump
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) appeared more optimistic on Wednesday about the possibility of President Donald Trump being removed from office, saying she was “pleased and encouraged” by recent reports of remarks attributed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I believe that the Senate, while we’ve heard a lot of rhetoric, I believe they can do anything that they have the will to do,” Demings told MSNBC in an interview.
“I was pleased and encouraged, let me put it that way, to hear the remarks from Sen. McConnell yesterday,” she said. “I believe the time is right. I believe the time is now. And I believe we have more bipartisan support, certainly more than we had the last time.”
Demings’ interview on Wednesday morning came as the House prepared to impeach Trump for a second time, setting him up to be the first president in American history to receive such a historic rebuke.
But unlike his first impeachment in 2019, when no House Republicans voted to remove the president, at least a handful of the chamber’s GOP lawmakers have turned against him in the aftermath of last week’s deadly siege of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican, and at least four other members of her caucus have said they will support the single impeachment article charging the president with “willful incitement of insurrection.” As many as a dozen Republicans are expected to vote to impeach Trump.
Making matters worse for the White House, both McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have privately signaled that they are open to punishing Trump in some way for his role in inciting last week’s riot.
McConnell has indicated Trump’s actions qualify him for removal, POLITICO reported Tuesday, and McCarthy — while still publicly opposed to impeachment — has asked GOP lawmakers whether he should pressure the president to resign.
Demings, a House impeachment manager during Trump’s first Senate trial, was heartened by the developments on Wednesday.
“We’ll see what happens,” she said. “We can get this done if we have the political will to do it.”