Rep. Al Green (D., Texas) vowed Thursday to force a vote to impeach President Donald Trump, pointing to the racial controversies that have embroiled Virginia's Democratic leaders to argue Congress needs to fight bigotry "starting at the top."
Green said the refusal of Virginia's governor and attorney general to resign after admitting to wearing blackface "is but a symptom of a greater syndrome that currently plagues our country as a result of not acting on President Trump’s bigotry," the Hill reports.
Green added that Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring have been emboldened "to a great extent because the Trump presidency has sent a message that you can be immune to the consequences of bigotry, by daring those with the authority and power to constitutionally remove you from office."
"Further, an argument that Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring should resign will subject us to accusations of political hypocrisy if we refuse to take on a bigoted president," Green continued in a statement.
The Democratic congressman introduced articles impeachment against the president in the last Congress, accusing Trump of fostering racial divisions in the United States.
On Thursday, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus repeated their call for the governor to resign after a photo depicting someone in blackface and someone in a Ku Klux Klan hood was discovered on a page dedicated to Northam in his medical school yearbook, the Washington Post reported. The caucus did not call on Herring to resign, saying instead that they "await further action on his part to reassure the citizens of the Commonwealth of his fitness for leadership."
Most Virginia Democrats, however, privately want Northam to stay in office until more information comes out about Herring and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, according to the Washington Post. Fairfax faces an allegation he sexually assaulted a woman in 2004. Should all three Democrats resign, the governorship would go to the state House Speaker, who is a Republican.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) suggested last month that Democrats would not try to impeach Trump without Republican support and noted that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has not reached its conclusion. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said an impeachment process was not inevitable and not what Democrats were focused on pursuing.
The remarks from Pelosi and Hoyer came days after freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) promised Democrats would "impeach the motherfucker."