House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has instructed fellow Democrats to maintain a “solemn” tone ahead of the likely impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
Caucus members have been told to refrain from cheering or clapping when House impeachment votes are tallied later in the day, Axios reported.
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) December 18, 2019
One Democratic member told Axios the instruction was,”Don’t cheer, keep it solemn.”
“Note: @SpeakerPelosi is wearing black. One of her colleagues told me several of the female Democrats did that intentionally to signal it is a somber day #impeachment,” tweeted CNN political correspondent Dana Bash.
CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju said sources told him that Pelosi “wants the public to see Democrats as taking this moment seriously and not be seen as cheering the President’s impeachment.”
Pelosi and her staff have instructed her caucus to show unity and not to gloat at all during the proceedings, per multiple sources. She wants the public to see Democrats as taking this moment seriously and not be seen as cheering the President’s impeachment, members say
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 18, 2019
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN that Wednesday was “not a day for celebration.”
“We think this is a very serious and sad day for the country in some ways, but a responsibility that we could not shirk,” he said.
“You can feel it in the air here. It feels different,” Bash said on Wednesday. “It is palpable – that this is momentous. That this is grave. And it is … not something this speaker wanted to do.”
While congressional Democrats may have been keeping their feelings about Trump’s impeachment under wraps, the same could not be said of anti-Trump critics on social media, who celebrated the expected impeachment of the president with a “#MerryImpeachmas” hashtag on Twitter.
My beloved @SpeakerPelosi, please allow me to politely disagree with you on one point. Yes, The impeachment process should be a solemn and serious constitutional act, but for some of us it’s… #MerryImpeachmas pic.twitter.com/LzMuBBPGMy
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) December 18, 2019
“Yes, The impeachment process should be a solemn and serious constitutional act, but for some of us it’s… #MerryImpeachmas,” tweeted actress Kathy Griffin, an outspoken critic of the president.
Meanwhile, some House Democrats have expressed similarly effusive pro-impeachment sentiments in the past.
Shortly after being sworn in, Rep. Rashida Tlaib famously vowed of Trump, “We’re gonna impeach the motherf—-r.”
The impeachment process
Members of the House Rules Committee set a six-hour limit for debate before the vote on Wednesday by the full House.
Ahead of the House’s impeachment vote, some of the president’s critics on social media appeared confused as to how the process actually worked, conflating impeachment with removal.
The U.S. Constitution gives the House the power to impeach a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” part of the document’s checks and balances among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government.
But removal takes place in the Senate, where the Constitution requires a super-majority of 67 senators to convict a president.
The Republican-led Senate is highly unlikely to vote to convict Trump.
No president has ever been removed from office via the impeachment process set out in the Constitution.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)