When Sen. Shelley Moore Capito steps out of her political comfort zone in an attempt to prove her bona fide allegiance to and unwavering support of President Trump, she seems – at best – a poor swimmer wading into the deep end of the pool.
We would applaud – and, in fact, we have – any show of senatorial temerity in advancing policy prescriptions for the cause of West Virginia. Certainly, there are plenty to pick from. The U.S. senator does better with pushing for improved broadband development across our state than with crossing over into a pure political play – like the dubious stunt late this past week, complete with a television appearance on Fox News.
On Thursday, Capito introduced a Senate resolution demanding Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, to immediately transmit the two articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate. Our state’s junior senator attracted a grand total of 26 fellow Republican senators to sign on to her small and meaningless resolution – 26 out of 53 in that chamber. Or, checking our math, not even half from her own party.
The resolution contends that Pelosi’s refusal to send the articles to the Senate was a “gross infringement on the constitutional authority of the Senate to try impeachment.”
Of course, it was no such thing, but saying as much was, at best, insincere. It was reasonable for Capito to suspect Pelosi of playing politics – but, hey, this is Washington D.C. so no big surprise there. If the senator were forthcoming, she might grudgingly admit that the speaker is quite good at that game. While holding the articles for the past three weeks in an attempt to force the Senate to conduct a fair trial, to call witnesses as happens in most trials, Pelosi allowed for additional discoveries to become known by the public – like new evidence in the form of Pentagon emails documenting the president’s decision to suspend military aid to Ukraine immediately following his “perfect call” with President Zelensky, and a potential witness – John Bolton, the former White House national security adviser – announcing he would be willing to testify in the Senate trial.
Capito was mum on whether she wanted to hear from Bolton. A case of too much information?
To top it off, Capito told Neil Cavuto in a televised interview that, “There are plenty of things on our plate that we should be and could be doing.”
The House, with Pelosi’s leadership, has moved more than 400 bills to the Senate – but it, under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, has become a legislative graveyard. And yet many of the bills that have yet to hear Senate debate, as Capito knows, are bipartisan in nature, including net neutrality, a universal background check, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, raising the minimum wage to ensure equal pay, legislation to protect and expand health coverage and bring down prescription drug prices.
If the senator is so eager to get some work done, she may want to have a conversation with her leader. On the other side of the Capitol, Pelosi has proven she can chew bubble gum and pass legislation all at once.
In the Senate? Not. So. Much.
Let’s remember that back when the GOP ran the entire show, owning majorities in both the House and Senate, the only big legislative accomplishments were a massive GOP tax cut and a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill.
Well, there was that time when the president brought about a government shutdown – that Pelosi fixed once she, again, took the gavel.
But our senator can now rest easy. Pelosi has signaled that she will be sending the articles of impeachment over to the Senate in the week ahead.
We’ll see, then, how the GOP controlled chamber handles its awesome responsibilities, whether Capito will vote to allow the Democrats to call witnesses, if she sees any past conduct by the president that could be categorized as “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” and if she remains true to the oath she will have to take to sit in judgment – to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.”
We’ll be watching to see just who she represents – her party or her country.