President Trump is claiming that the impeachment inquiry against him is nothing more than an attempted “coup.”
“As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!” Trump said in a pair of tweets Tuesday night.
Last week, the House launched the formal impeachment inquiry stemming from his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the subject of a whistleblower complaint.
The president’s comment about a coup marks at least the ninth time he has suggested he is the victim of the attempted action – an illegal overthrow of the government, according to Newsweek.
Critics disputed Trump’s tweet, with presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) even suggesting that he should not be allowed to make such a remark on Twitter, according to The Washington Post.
“Time to do something about this,” Harris tweeted to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Trump has previously questioned whether House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) should be arrested for treason, an offense that can be punishable by death.
He also has attacked the anonymous whistleblower, whom he described as “almost a spy” and he has suggested that his impeachment could lead to a “Civil War-like fracture.”
Trump has claimed attempts of a coup before, saying during a National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in April of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election: “They tried for a coup, it didn’t work out so well. And I didn’t need a gun for that one, did I?”
The president first referred to a coup in February when he quoted Fox News contributor Dan Bongino describing a New York Times report that former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, Newsweek reported.
He then quoted Fox News host Sean Hannity, who accused former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe of having “admitted to plotting a coup (government overthrow) when he was serving.”
Gene Healy, vice president at the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, called Trump’s comparison “dumb and galling.”
He pointed out how Vice President Pence would take office if Trump were to be impeached — unlike in the illegal overthrow Trump’s tweet evokes.
“What kind of coup would replace Donald Trump with his handpicked, duly elected, loyal-to-a-fault running mate? That’s not a coup,” Healy told The Washington Post.