House Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern on Tuesday challenged Republican lawmakers to follow the example he set during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and denounce President Trump’s conduct as “wrong.”
“I get it. It’s hard to criticize a president of your own party. But that shouldn’t matter here,” Mr. McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat, said as he opened a hearing to set the rules for an impeachment vote Wednesday.
“I admired President Clinton when he was president, and I still do today. But when this House impeached him — which I didn’t agree with — I went to the House floor and said I thought what President Clinton did was wrong,” he said. “Because moments like this call for more than just reflexive partisanship. They require honesty. And they require courage.”
In December of 1998, Mr. McGovern condemned Mr. Clinton’s conduct, which included the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice. He then voted against all four articles of impeachment against Mr. Clinton.
Mr. McGovern also voted against the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Clinton’s conduct.
“What shocks me, quite frankly, about so many of my Republican friends is their inability to acknowledge that President Trump acted improperly,” he said.
The House is set to vote Wednesday on two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump. He is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The charges are based on allegations that Mr. Trump used his presidential power to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter for possible corruption in that country.