New York Democrat flips to support Pelosi as House impeachment holdouts dwindle – Washington Examiner

STATEN ISLAND, New York — First-term Democratic Rep. Max Rose declared his support for an impeachment inquiry of President Trump, changing his stance shortly after reports emerged of a 2020 primary challenger.

Rose, 32, had been among a group of fewer than a dozen of the 235-member Democratic Caucus who had resisted the impeachment inquiry. That number is now nine.

The impeachment process stems from a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which included an effort to strong-arm his counterpart into investigating business activities related to Ukraine by Hunter Biden, son of former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable,” Rose told constituents Wednesday night during a town hall at a local Jewish community center. Trump, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are not complying with congressional subpoenas, as required, Rose said.

“The president and his advisers, including Rudy Giuliani and Secretary Pompeo, are no longer showing any interest whatsoever in cooperating,” Rose said. “They’re ignoring legitimate subpoenas. They’ve chosen to serve their own party and in a moment like this.”

That’s a change from Rose’s recent wait-and-see stance over the impeachment inquiry, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her official support for an inquiry through six committees. Rose at the time lamented the “partisan” nature of the impeachment process.

“It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House, the opposing party will try to impeach them,” he said in late September.

Rose had good political reasons for holding out, since his Staten Island- and Brooklyn-based district voted for Trump in 2016 by a 54%-44% margin over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The district also has a 3-point Republican voter registration advantage.

Rose won the seat in 2018 by defeating Republican incumbent Dan Donovan. Republicans are eyeing the traditional GOP stronghold as a 2020 pickup opportunity.

But Rose also faces a potential challenge from the Left. His reluctance to pursue impeachment of Trump did not sit well with party activists in Brooklyn who helped Rose win his seat in 2018. They felt he was trying to appeal too much to Republican voters in the Staten Island region of the district and threatened to write in a candidate or find a primary challenger if he did not get in line on impeachment.

On Tuesday, Richard-Olivier Marius, 29, who considers himself a democratic socialist, announced he would run against Rose in the Democratic primary, citing the lawmaker’s reluctance to support the Green New Deal and “Medicare for All.”

When asked by the Washington Examiner if his sudden support for the impeachment inquiry occurred because of this new primary challenge, Rose said, “So Richard Marius, I believe is his name, has declared a primary on me for months. I have been trying my hardest to get a socialist to primary me, and I cannot tell you how happy I am that he is doing so.”

Rose dismissed the primary challenge, citing his own record in Congress. “His campaign, or anything to that effect, has nothing whatsoever to do with this. You talk to any political expert and they would not say that what I am doing right now is not the most politically astute thing that I could do,” Rose said.

He also pointed to House Republicans potentially endangered by the Trump impeachment inquiry and whatever follows. “We call on them to show some semblance of courage to take a political risk and to join in support for this impeachment inquiry,” he said. “The president has no one to blame but himself.”

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