After weeks of straddling the fence, Xochitl Torres Small finally folded to the socialists in her party and endorsed impeaching President Trump in an op-ed.
Torres Small’s betrayal of her district (which voted for President Trump by a 10-point margin) comes just a day after constituents protested outside her office calling on her to stand up to her impeachment-obsessed colleagues. Guess she didn’t get the message.
NRCC Comment: “We hope Xochitl Torres Small will be well compensated for betraying her constituents and backing the impeachment of President Trump. She’s going to need someone to give her a new job after voters have their say next November.” – NRCC Spokesman Bob Salera
In case you missed it…
New Mexico Congresswoman Torres Small now supports impeachment inquiry
Democratic holdout endorses impeachment inquiry in op-ed
Las Cruces Sun News
Until today, U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-NM, belonged to a small group of Democrats in the House of Representatives who did not support a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
While backing an investigation into a whistleblower’s complaint alleging that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation that might discredit a domestic political rival, Torres Small preferred it not be framed as a possible prelude to impeachment.
That changed Thursday, after the congresswoman penned a column appearing in the Las Cruces Sun-News arguing that as of this week, “the administration left me with no other way to get the information the country deserves than to support an impeachment inquiry.”
For two weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the inquiry, the freshman representative for New Mexico’s conservative-leaning second congressional district walked a cautious rhetorical line.
Torres Small was elected in 2018, winning a seat that has long been reliably Republican, narrowly defeating GOP candidate Yvette Herrell in a contest decided by the absentee ballot count. Herrell is one of three primary candidates vying to challenge Torres Small in 2020.
Following Pelosi’s Sept. 25 announcement, Torres Small issued a statement calling on the president to release the informant’s complaint and allow administration officials to testify before Congress.
Shortly after her statement was shared on Twitter, a new version was sent out revising the final sentence from “Any threat to our national security must be taken seriously” to: “This is a threat to our national security, and it must be taken seriously.”
‘It is our job to be deliberate’
In an interview for the Sun-News last weekend, Torres Small said she had read the White House transcript of the president’s phone call as well as the complaint and response from the Inspector General, and she had begun reviewing text messages between American and Ukrainian officials related to the allegations.
She said she wanted “an unbiased review” of the allegations, saying, “It is our job to be deliberate, to be clear and to avoid reckless determinations as we gather all of the facts … so that we can make a decision that our democracy deserves.”
She was not yet comfortable identifying it as an impeachment inquiry, however.
“When you have an inquiry that you put the word impeachment before it, it leads a lot of people to think that we are heading towards a conclusion that has already been reached,” she said.
Going further, Torres Small said she wanted to focus on legislative priorities for her home state and district, and called the noise around impeachment a distraction in which “Democrats and Republicans are exchanging partisan barbs and the president is tweeting all weekend.”
The day after that interview, a second whistleblower came forward claiming “firsthand knowledge” of events described in the August complaint.
As the week progressed, the White House refused to turn over documents to House committee chairmen and prevented Ambassador Gordon D. Sondland from testifying before Congress. The president tweeted Wednesday that Sondland “would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away.”
With those steps, Torres Small wrote that “the president and his administration made it clear to New Mexicans that they are not committed to finding the truth.”
Citing her oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, Torres Small argued that a formal impeachment inquiry was now the appropriate mechanism for getting to the bottom of the U.S.-Ukraine allegations.
“I have not reached judgment on the president’s actions, nor on the appropriate response, but I need the facts to make these weighty decisions,” she wrote.
In last weekend’s interview, when asked whether the dilemma was simply about branding the hearings as an impeachment inquiry, Torres Small answered that the integrity of the process depended on it avoiding any semblance of a partisan action, as the president has claimed it is.
She said of the investigation: “I hope it’s something that 10 years from now people look back on and — regardless of what the outcome is — we see the process as something that maintained the dignity of our democracy.”