While President Joe Biden went straight to work on his first day in office, so too did his adversaries. Only 28 hours after Biden took office, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) announced via Twitter that she had already filed articles of impeachment against the new president based on actions he allegedly took as Vice President that would make him a “threat to national security.”
Northwestern political science professor Laurel Harbridge-Yong explained that the articles of impeachment are rooted in “long-running conservative speculations.” They claim Biden used his power as Vice President to make deals with foreign governments that benefited himself and his son, Hunter Biden. These allegations have been used against Biden since the election cycle, Harbridge-Yong said, despite Senate Republicans investigating these claims and finding “no evidence of wrongdoing.”
These articles of impeachment are more position-taking than an actual threat against Biden, Harbridge-Yong explained. They may not even be brought to a vote, considering the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee decides whether Congress will pursue the articles.
Impeachment attempts against Biden so early after his inauguration may have been motivated by the immediate partisan divide following the insurrection attempt on Jan. 6. After the fleeting moment of unity in Congress condemning insurrectionists, disagreements over the necessity and validity of impeaching Trump have become polarizing for politicians.
Most of the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump have faced backlash from the GOP, including being censured, or formally disapproved. Many Republicans see Trump’s impeachment as hypocritical considering Biden’s calls for unity, Harbridge-Yong explained, but Democrats argue there cannot be unity until there is accountability.
Harbridge-Yong worries the characterization of Trump’s impeachments by the right-wing media and Rep. Greene’s baseless impeachment charge against Biden will turn impeachment into “a partisan tool” instead of an institutional check on the executive branch. She warns that this might create concerning rhetoric over the distinction between high crimes and misdemeanors worthy of impeachment and messy political maneuvering by opposing sides.
Exaggerating the partisan divide in Congress, the articles of impeachment against Biden reflect a concerning reality for American politics: the influence of Trumpism on the Republican party. Trump’s stronghold over the Republican agenda has been so successful that immediately following the insurrection inspired by his intentional spread of misinformation, 147 Republican Congressmen voted to overturn the election.
Among these voters is the representative who filed the articles of impeachment against Biden, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Greene has been an extremely outspoken and controversial figure, especially on social media. The Georgia representative has liked multiple posts regarding killing Democratic politicians, including one that suggested putting “a bullet to the head” of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and another asking when they could hang former president Barack Obama (to which she replied that the “stage is being set” and “We must be patient”). She was also temporarily banned from Twitter for claiming that results from the Georgia Senate election and the presidential election were fraudulent, even though this was the same election cycle that she herself was elected in.
Greene also supports the falsehoods that the 9/11 attacks and the Sandy Hook shooting were staged. In line with these beliefs, Greene harassed David Hoggs, a survivor of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, about his support for gun regulation. She also has made derogatory comments about people who are Black, Muslim, and Jewish.
Greene is most (in)famous for her strong support of QAnon, a conspiracy theory that Donald Trump is going to declare war on and expose countless powerful Americans as “Satan-worshipping pedophiles.” This conspiracy is rather dangerous, with many of its followers being among the rioters who stormed the Capitol.
Based on Greene’s provocative and dangerous behavior, Congressional Democrats have called for her expulsion. While it is unlikely the House will reach the two-thirds vote needed to expel Greene, many Democrats are demanding she face consequences for her actions. California Rep. Jimmy Gomez has already started to draft a resolution to expel her.
Rep. Cori Bush shared her agreement with this proposition on Twitter, advocating for the expulsions of all members who helped incite the insurrection. In her Tweet, Rep. Bush also stated that she plans on moving her office away from Greene’s after she and her staff masklessly harassed Bush in the hallway.
Though arguably the most well-known right-wing extremist, Greene is far from alone in her perpetuation of Trumpism in Washington. Fellow QAnon supporter and House representative Lauren Boebert has faced similar backlash after tweeting Nancy Pelosi’s location during the Capitol riots. Equally concerning, Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar and Mo Brooks have been identified as planners of the insurrection by one of its organizers.
(Editor’s Note: Rep. Biggs’s Deputy Chief of Staff denies the allegations against Rep. Biggs, and the video accusing all three representatives has since been deleted. This article has been updated from its original version to include this information.)
These behaviors all support Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that the allegiance some Republicans used to have for Trump is now being directed toward white supremacists.
The articles of impeachment filed against Biden represent something larger than one politician’s disdain for the new president; they represent a deepening and stark divide within the ideology of the nation. Instead of traditional disagreements over beliefs, America faces a political environment so polarized that members of one political party feel physically unsafe with some members of the other.
“My understanding of these articles of impeachment,” Harbridge-Yong said, is that they are “contributing to the kind of alternative facts and alternate realities that members of the two parties seem to exist in these days, in terms of working off of very different versions of what they see as the truth.”
Thumbnail photo under public domain via the Executive Office of the President of the United States.