Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) told reporters Thursday he is a “solid” no on a resolution to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the first Republican to commit to bucking his party amid concerns “this just isn’t an impeachable offense.”
It’s a turnaround for Buck, who earlier in Mayorkas’s tenure implied he had committed treason over his handling of the border, comparing him to Benedict Arnold.
But he said his colleagues have not made a sufficient case to impeach Mayorkas, falling short of showing high crimes or misdemeanors.
“I’ve talked to constitutional experts on the outside. I’ve talked to former members about the impact that this would have in the future,” he said.
“The people I’m talking to … agree that this just isn’t an impeachable offense.”
Republican leaders can afford to lose only a handful of Republican votes in the GOP’s narrow majority.
Republicans have taken a novel approach to Mayorkas’s impeachment, accusing him of failing to follow immigration laws by pointing to detention standards that have never been met under any administration — including during the Trump era.
They also accuse him of “breach of public trust” — something they say amounts to a “violation of his oath to well and faithfully discharge the duties of his office.”
Buck joins other conservative voices that have urged the House GOP to abandon the effort.
“Whatever else Mayorkas may or may not have done, he has not committed bribery, treason, or high crimes and misdemeanors. Indeed, most Republicans do not even claim that his actions or inactions meet these daunting constitutional standards, but they are prepared to apply a double standard based on partisan considerations,” Trump impeachment lawyer Alan Dershowitz wrote in a recent op-ed.
Buck has been vocal in his criticism of Mayorkas, including during an exchange that included one of the most personal attacks seen during the secretary’s many congressional appearances, making Buck’s refusal to impeach him now all the more remarkable.
During a House Judiciary hearing two years ago, Buck capped a lengthy tirade in which he said Mayorkas “allowed” opioids into the country and was “responsible” for thousands of girls being sold into prostitution, suggesting he would go down in infamy as a traitor to the country.
“No parents with the last name Arnold name their kids Benedict,” he said, referencing the defector to the British army.
“What would the Mayorkas family do down the road?” Buck added, suggesting they would not use the name Alejandro.
Mayorkas is a relatively unique last name, its spelling often indicating Sephardic Jewish heritage.
“Congressman, I have so much to say in response to what you just said,” Mayorkas replied.
“It is so profoundly offensive, on so many different levels, in so many different regards. I won’t ask you for an apology,” said Mayorkas, rattling off his years of service as a federal prosecutor and Homeland Security official.
Buck cut him off to say, “Don’t.”
Emily Brooks contributed.
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