Donald Trump is such a lousy president he’s not even worth impeaching, according to Nancy Pelosi.
The House speaker said Trump was “ethically” and “intellectually” unfit for office Monday but came out against the idea of impeaching him, potentially putting her at odds with the progressive flank of her party.
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” Pelosi said in a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post, marking her strongest pushback against the idea to date.
The speaker added, “And he’s just not worth it.”
Pelosi’s comments are significant since an impeachment investigation in the House can’t be launched without her consent.
Her reluctance comes as left-leaning House Democrats, including Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, are openly advocating for launching impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s prison-bound former lawyer, has implicated the president in a hush payment scheme that violates campaign finance laws and provided Congress with evidence to back up the explosive claims last week.
Cohen also handed over financial statements he says shows Trump has engaged in tax and insurance fraud.
Progressive activists and some members of the House argue those allegations alone are enough to kick-start the impeachment process.
But Pelosi, D-Calif., contended the stakes are too high, adding that she would rather see Trump lose re-election in 2020, as opposed to having to remove him via impeachment.
“All the challenges we have faced, we can withstand anything. But maybe not two (Trump) terms,” Pelosi said. “So we have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
At the same time, Pelosi did not mince words about the president.
“Ethically unfit. Intellectually unfit. Curiosity-wise unfit. No, I don’t think he’s fit to be president of the United States,” she said. “You know, I have five kids, and I think I can do everything for them, but I can’t control the air they breathe, the water that they drink. You depend on the public sector to do certain things for the health and well-being of your family, and he is counter to that.”
Some activists were disappointed in Pelosi’s dual take.
“He’s just not worth it?” tweeted Tom Steyer, the billionaire Democratic donor who has launched an advocacy effort calling for Trump’s impeachment. “Is defending our legal system ‘worth it?’ Is holding the president accountable ‘worth it?’ Is doing what’s right ‘worth it?’ Or shall America just stop fighting for our principles and do what’s politically convenient?”