miércoles, mayo 22

Al Green, in hospital scrubs, votes to kill Mayorkas impeachment

As the final minutes of voting wound down, the House watched closely Tuesday evening to see whether more Republicans would defect on the resolution to impeach Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Homeland Security secretary.

Three Republicans in the House of Representatives had already voted against Mr. Mayorkas’ impeachment and, given their participation in the previous vote, the Republican Party could not afford more. The count remained steady, and it appeared the indictment that Republicans had promised their base for more than a year — accusing Mr. Mayorkas of refusing to comply with the law and betraying trust from the public due to an influx of migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico — could creak along party lines.

Then, like a scene from a political thriller, Rep. Al Green, Democrat of Texas, appeared at the last moment to cast a surprise vote — from a wheelchair, wearing blue hospital clothes and beige socks. He voted no.

Mr. Green’s vote was decisive. He blocked the vote, 215 to 215, and handed Speaker Mike Johnson a resounding defeat.

“I was determined to vote well in advance — I had no idea how close it was going to be,” Mr. Green said in an interview Tuesday evening from his hospital bed, where he returned shortly after having voted. “I didn’t come thinking that my vote was going to make a difference. I came because it was personal.

It was a notable stop by Mr. Green, who is known on Capitol Hill for repeatedly defying Democratic leaders to push for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump during his presidency. He had tried three times to impeach Mr. Trump, and failed each time.

But on Tuesday evening, Mr. Green, who rushed to the Capitol after undergoing emergency abdominal surgery on Friday, dealt the final blow, at least for now, to partisan impeachment charges that Democrats and Constitutional law experts – including several conservatives – said they were. based on political disputes and not on the constitutional norm of serious crimes and misdemeanors.

Mr. Green was still in the hospital Tuesday recovering from surgery when he learned that the House would vote that evening on the impeachment charges against Mr. Mayorkas. He spoke to his doctors and called Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, New York Democrat and minority leader, to let him know he would take an Uber to the Capitol. Mr. Jeffries did not insist that he vote, Mr. Green said, but arranged for his transportation.

“I had to vote because he is a good, honest man whose reputation should not be tarnished,” Mr. Green said of Mr. Mayorkas.

He went directly to the attending physician’s office on the first floor of the Capitol, where his blood pressure and temperature were monitored. He insisted on being called to the impeachment vote – “not to make a spectacular entrance,” he said, but because “it was a vote that was important to me.”

As he sat in the House, Mr. Green said, Representative David Scott, Democrat of Georgia, turned to tell him that he had tied the votes. “I hadn’t even thought about what that meant,” Mr. Green said.

Mr. Green did not vote on an unrelated bill immediately before the impeachment resolution, in what appeared to be an attempt to leave Republicans in limbo.

It seemed to work.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia and a staunch supporter of Mr. Mayorkas’s impeachment campaign, accused Democrats of playing a «game» and pushing Mr. Green to reject his previous vote to lull Republicans in a false sense of security.

“They hid one of their members, waiting until the last minute, monitoring our votes, trying to mislead us about the numbers we had versus the numbers they had,” Ms. Greene told reporters on the steps of the Capitol after the vote. “So yeah, that was a strategy in play tonight.”

Mr. Green denied timing his entry to mislead Republicans, explaining that he assumed the vote would be close but that Republicans would prevail because they had chosen to introduce the resolution.

“In the Pelosi school of politics, you don’t introduce an issue if you don’t want to pass it,” Mr. Green said, referring to Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California and former speaker.

Mr. Johnson, who stood on the dais with gavel in hand, kept the vote open for several more minutes, scrambling to find a way to save the measure. Democrats repeatedly shouted, “Order!” and booed as the vote dragged on.

Ultimately, Rep. Blake Moore of Utah, a member of the Republican leadership, reversed his vote to allow the party to return to the resolution later, when leaders hope to secure the votes.

“I’ve been lucky to have good surgeons and I’ll be here for a while,” Mr. Green said as he hung up the phone from his hospital bed. «I’ll be careful now.» I’m going to be a better patient.

Catie Edmondson, Carl Hulse And Luke Broadwater reports contributed.