President Donald Trump’s Sunday night tweet quoting a longtime evangelical pastor who warned of a “Civil War” if “Democrats are successful in removing the president from office” could actually be grounds for impeachment, one Harvard Law professor said.
“If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,” Trump tweeted on Sunday night.
The tweet was a quote from Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor who gave the comment during an appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend.
The president’s tweet was immediately met with backlash, and Harvard Law professor John Coates argued that the social media post itself is an “independent basis” for lawmakers to remove him from the White House.
“This tweet is itself an independent basis for impeachment – a sitting president threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power,” Coates wrote on Twitter on Monday.
This tweet is itself an independent basis for impeachment – a sitting president threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power. https://t.co/JL9XzClGXf
— John Coates⚽️ (@jciv) September 30, 2019
Jeffress, a Dallas-based megachurch pastor and one of Trump’s closest spiritual advisors, has a history of making controversial and offensive comments.
He has called Islam “a religion that promotes pedophilia” and a “heresy from the pit of hell.”
He has also called Mormonism a “cult” that is not a true part of Christianity and said “you can’t be saved by being a Jew.”
In December, Trump expressed confidence that the people would “revolt” if he were impeached.
Asked if he was worried about getting impeached at the time, Trump told Reuters that “it’s hard to impeach somebody who hasn’t done anything wrong and who’s created the greatest economy in the history of our country.”
“I’m not concerned, no,” he said during the Oval Office interview. “I think that the people would revolt if that happened.”
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle condemned the president’s Sunday tweet, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who tweeted: “I truly can think of few things less patriotic, more cowardly, and plainly pathetic + reckless than amplifying calls for civil war within your own country. This President has never been interested in leading. He‘s interested in consolidating power with a cult of personality.”
I truly can think of few things less patriotic, more cowardly, and plainly pathetic + reckless than amplifying calls for civil war within your own country.
This President has never been interested in leading. He‘s interested in consolidating power with a cult of personality. https://t.co/3hw5tr76x6
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2019
“I have visited nations ravaged by civil war,” tweeted Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.). “I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant,” he added.
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) September 30, 2019
Donald Trump should resign.
In just the law few days he’s:
• threatened/endorsed civil war
• threatened the Whistleblower
• threatened Adam Schiff
At what point do Republicans put the safety and security of the country above Donald Trump?
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) September 30, 2019
David Burbach, an associate professor in international relations at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island, retweeted Trump, highlighting the threatening use of language used by the President.
“You can not brush it off as ‘he just talks that way,'” said Burbach. “This is a real head of state with great legal authority in charge of US Marshalls and FBI agents and an awesome military machine. This. Is. For. Real.”
“A quote vs his own words, but this is still a terribly irresponsible thing for the President to say,” said Burbach, whose specialisms include civil-military relations in addition to international relations, national security and the politics of U.S. foreign policy.
This is an official statement by the President of the United States. You can not brush it off as "he just talks that way".
This is a real head of state with great legal authority in charge of US Marshalls and FBI agents and an awesome military machine. This. Is. For. Real. https://t.co/mHbGd410c3
— David Burbach (@dburbach) September 29, 2019