House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said President Trump gave lawmakers no option other than impeachment.
“No member, regardless of party or politics, comes to Congress to impeach a president,” Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said during the floor debate on two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump.
The remark drew a swift rebuke from White House officials, who noted a Washington Post headline published within minutes of Mr. Trump’s inauguration in January 2017: “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.”
On the House floor, Republican lawmakers argued that Democrats had been on a hunt for a reason to impeach Mr. Trump since he took office, beginning with the still-unproven allegations of Trump-Russia collusion to rig the 2016 election.
They now are pursuing two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, stemming from Mr. Trump asking Ukraine to investigate alleged corruption in that country involving a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, and Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.
“Why are we calling this a solemn occasion when you’ve been wanting to do this since the gentleman was elected?” said Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
Indeed, when Democrats won a House majority in 2018, several freshman members arrived with vows to impeach Mr. Trump. Many of them ran on impeachment.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, told voters the 2018 election was “about electing a jury that will impeach him, and I make a heck of a juror.”
After being sworn in, she boasted, “We are going to impeach the motherf—er!”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, pledged to vote for impeachment before she was elected in 2018.
“I would vote yes,” she said on CNN when asked about possible impeachment.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, also backed impeachment before coming to Congress.
“I would support impeachment. I think that, you know, we have the grounds to do it,” she said.
Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts Democrat, also made impeachment a campaign promise in 2018.
“I look forward to partnering with many others to do whatever we can to get him impeached,” she said.