Congressman Antonio Delgado has joined the chorus of Democrats calling for impeachment proceedings against president Donald Trump. In a press release, Delgado wrote that recent revelations about Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating alleged corruption by former vice-president and 2020 presidential contender Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter had convinced him that articles of impeachment were warranted.
“The first responsibility of the president of the United States is to keep our country safe,” Delgado wrote. “But it has become clear that our president has placed his personal interests above the national security of our nation.”
Allegations of presidential malfeasance regarding the Ukraine surfaced last week when Congress learned of a whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the intelligence community. Since then, Trump has admitted that in a July 25 conversation with Zelensky he asked the newly elected Ukrainian president to investigate allegations that Biden — while vice president — had pressured a previous Ukrainian government to dismiss an anti-corruption prosecutor in an effort to protect the business interests of his son Hunter. The conversation occurred shortly after Trump moved to suspend a $391-million aid package for the Ukraine, which has for years battled a Russian-backed insurgency in the eastern part of the former Soviet republic.
Trump has denied any connection between the aid package and his request for an investigation of Biden. He has also defended his solicitation of a foreign leader to investigate a political rival as an appropriate effort to ensure that U.S. funds would not be siphoned off by corruption.
Delgado, a freshman congressman who represents a district which voted for Trump in 2016, had previously resisted increasingly strident calls from the party base to get on board with impeachment proceedings. Instead, he’s focused on bread-and-butter issues that appeal to constituents across the political spectrum, like expanding access to broadband internet in rural areas. His stance was in line with House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has signaled her belief an impeachment drive would be counterproductive to Democrats’ efforts to retake the White House and Senate and strengthen their majority in Congress next year.
But on Tuesday, Delgado, a former corporate litigator, said that Trump’s conduct clearly constituted an impeachable offense. “Having taken an oath of office before God and my fellow citizens to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, I can only conclude that Congress move forward with articles of impeachment.”
Delgado’s statement drew a swift response from Tony German, a Republican from Oneonta who is seeking to unseat the incumbent in the 2020 election. German, a retired major general in the New York National Guard, accused Delgado of joining “The AOC [Alexandra Ocasio-Cortea] wing of the Democratic party” in a politically motivated impeachment drive.
“Today the congressman abandoned his commitment to governance in order to appease the most extreme elements in his base,” wrote German in a press release Tuesday. “This is exactly the type of behavior that inspired me to run. Politicians will never fix Washington.”
Delgado will appear in New Paltz next month for an open to the public interview with KT Tobin, associate director of the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz. The event, which is free and open to the public will take place on Thursday, October 10 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the university’s Student Union Building Multipurpose Room.