When a call for impeachment rivals a four-letter word for news coverage, which one takes, literally, the lead?
Welcome to the first Friday of the new year.
First, the president. Donald Trump didn’t refer to freshman Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib by name, but he seems to have cleared some mind-room for the frank-talking impeachment-demanding newcomer.
Trump tweeted this morning, “How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong…” (My truncated version stops just before the inevitable and unsurprising “no collusion” stuff).
Trump’s early morning protesting-too-much likely was prompted by media accounts of last night’s four-letter rallying call from Tlaib, who calls herself an “Unbossed Congresswoman” from Michigan. At a MoveOn reception last night, she said, “We’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf*cker.”
On the morning cable programs, news hosts seemed torn between covering the “impeachment” angle or the F-bomb drop. So they did both. Typical was MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson asking California’s new Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, “Do you agree with her sentiment and/or her language?” (Speier made a valiant attempt – “I’m sorry but I couldn’t hear it very well” – prompting Jackson to spell it out).
On CNN, Rep. Jerry Nadler, the newly-appointed Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told host John Berman, “I don’t like really like that kind of language. But more to the point, I disagree with what she said. It is too early to talk about that intelligently. We have to follow the facts.”
Tlaib herself wasn’t dodging. “I will always speak truth to power,” she tweeted this morning, less than an hour after Trump’s “How do you impeach….” tweet. A bit later she posted, “This is not just about Donald Trump. This is about all of us. In the face of this constitutional crisis, we must rise.”