Trump Impeached?

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CAMBRIDGE — As expected, city councilors representing arguably the Bay State’s bluest city voted on Monday night to send a resolution to Washington D.C. calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Republican President Donald Trump.

Not unexpected, however:  The vote was not unanimous. One city councilor voted against endorsing the resolution while another voted “present.”

“My belief is that this is a federal issue, and that we have elected representatives that are responsible for the city of Cambridge,” said David P. Maher, who cast the council’s lone ‘nay’ vote in a 7-1-1 tally.

The vote to pass along the resolution to Washington drew cheers and applause from onlookers in the gallery, several of whom spoke in favor of it during the public comment period that preceded the vote.

The resolution calls on Congress to begin an impeachment probe aimed at determining whether Trump’s business holdings abroad constitute a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s so-called ‘Emoluments Clause,’ which bars businesses owned by those holding public office from accepting payments from foreign governments.  

Maher noted that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who lives in Cambridge, in addition to U.S. Representatives Katherine Clark and Mike Capuano — all Democrats —  have already been outspoken and critical of the Trump administration.

“It is my belief that they are who should be leading this effort,” Maher said. “To have this come to the city council, I don’t believe it’s the right place for it to be.

“If we did not have the activism that we have in our elected federal representatives, then I can see this, but we have very active representatives in Washington.”

Jan Devereaux, who voted ‘yay’ along with six other councilors, called a vote for ‘present’ or “even a vote to oppose on procedural grounds” as “very odd and rather pointlessly oppositional.”

“I’ll be very candid, I simply don’t understand,” she added.

Councilor Timothy J. Toomey Jr., who voted ‘present,’ agreed with Maher.

“I think they should be taking up the bandwagon on this,” he said, referring to the legislators who represent Cambridge in Congress. “It’s time for our national elected officials to handle this.”

The resolution was drafted and introduced by councilor and Vice Mayor Mark McGovern. On Monday night McGovern stressed that such a resolution is not without precedent.  

“We pass resolutions quite often asking our state delegation and in this case our federal delegation to do certain things,” he said. “I certainly don’t want the public to think that this is a slight on the capabilities of our Congressional delegation.”

McGovern also had strong words for Trump, at one point describing the Manhattan-based real estate tycoon as a “pathological liar.”

McGovern drafted the resolution with the assistance of CAST (Cambridge Area Stronger Together). Devereaux, who along with fellow City Councilor Leland Cheung signed on to cosponsor the resolution, insisted it “is not about retribution or a referendum on Trump’s policies.”

“Nor is this about political grandstanding or scoring points with the media,” Devereaux added. “Frankly I wish all of these cameras that are pointed in our faces were here because of the vote we’re about to take up next on inclusionary housing.

“What this is about is safeguarding the reputation of the office of the president and upholding public trust. Everyone expects the People’s Republic of Cambridge to do these kinds of things but where it will really gain momentum is when cities that are not known as the ‘people’s republic-of-anywhere’ jump on this bandwagon and say, ‘hey, something doesn’t smell right’.”

As of press time, three cities in California (Alameda, Berkeley, and Richmond), in addition to the town of Charlotte, Vermont, have already voted on similar resolutions calling for Trump’s impeachment.

At the city council meeting in Cambridge on Monday more than a dozen members of the public speak out in favor of the resolution.

One person who did not, however, was resident Rachel Warden, who said she voted for Trump.

“A lot of people here voted for Donald Trump, he did not just walk into the White House unsolicited,” she said.

Trump garnered a little more than 6 percent of the vote during November’s presidential election.

Another resident who questioned the purpose of the resolution was Gary Mello. Mello said the city’s “request to impeach the president of the United States should wind up in the newspaper — on the funny pages.”

“We’re a city of 100,000 residents with a $600 million budget and our chief legislative body is wasting its time posing for the television cameras. The rest of the country looks at us and says “looney-town” — councilors, you will only be taken as seriously as you do the job yourselves.”