Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond was caught on video watching golf during Thursday evening’s impeachment hearing, and Republicans took note.
C-SPAN cameras captured the Louisiana congressman apparently live-streaming the sport on his laptop in the middle of the 14-hour session to markup articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Ironically, Richmond appeared to be watching the Presidents Cup.
Within minutes, Steve Guest, the Republican National Committee’s rapid response director, tweeted a clip of the moment.
“Richmond’s actions are a DISGRACE,” he said.
Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond is watching golf. pic.twitter.com/Qu0Npl8RrD
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) December 13, 2019
Earlier in the hearing, Richmond used his time to argue House Democrats were constitutionally required to “take this drastic, solemn and regrettable step” of impeachment. He also compared Republicans to Judas for protecting Trump, suggesting they were betraying the country the way Jesus’ disciple betrayed him in the Bible.
"If Pres. Trump wanted to investigate corruption, he could start at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Dem. Rep. Cedric Richmond says, "or he look could around the cast of criminals that have been indicted from his circle." https://t.co/U7BXhyXhO1 pic.twitter.com/W5dG9lZhhT
— ABC News (@ABC) December 12, 2019
Richmond’s office did not immediately respond to Pluralist’s request for comment.
From the beginning, Democrats have tried to signal that they are handling the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate unproven allegations of wrongdoing by Democrats.
Days after announcing the inquiry, in September, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California pledged to “pursue the facts” in a way that was “somber” and “prayerful.”
In a November closed-door meeting, she reportedly instructed her caucus: “This is a very serious event in our country. We wish it could have been avoided.”
Pelosi and the committee chairmen who led the impeachment inquiry maintained the same solemn tone in unveiling the impeachment charges last week.
Both Reps. Adam Schiff of California, the chair of the Intelligence Committee, and Jerry Nadler of New York, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, lamented that the president had supposedly left them with “no choice” but to impeach him.
Cedric Richmond gets slammed
However, in response to Guest’s tweets, a number of conservatives on Twitter and in the press declared that Richmond had put the lie to his party’s claims of piety — and bolstered Republican accusations that the process is purely political. (Trump has denied any wrongdoing in his relations with Ukraine and accused the Democrats of trying to stage a “coup” against him.)
RNC spokeswoman Elizabeth Harrington sarcastically tweeted: “So solemn. So prayerful.”
So solemn. So prayerfulhttps://t.co/oSw7dUH2fO
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) December 13, 2019
“Can’t be…I’ve been told this is all very solemn and serious,” one man joked.
Some people were more understanding, though, noting that Richmond was enduring the second half of the contentious two-day debate over the two articles of impeachment — not to mention the nearly three-month impeachment circus leading up to it.
“I’m willing to give him a pass on this. It’s 9pm et. and it’s the President’s Cup,” said a commenter. “I wonder what side Richmond is cheering for though?”
In a party line vote Friday, the Judiciary Committee sent the articles of impeachment for a referendum by the full House, where it is expected to pass despite some Democratic wobbling. But top Senate Republicans on Saturday vowed to use their majority in the chamber to quickly wrap up an impeachment trial in Trump’s favor.