At a town hall event in his home district on Monday, tea party freshman and part-time Santa Claus impersonator Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) told a constituent that while he does not yet possess sufficient evidence, drafting articles of impeachment “would be a dream come true.”
The moment came towards the end of his event, when a woman in the crowd beseeched the congressman to “stop this runaway train that we have in the White House.” BuzzFeed was the first to unearth a video of the entire town hall, and of his exchange with the constituent.
“If I could write that bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true,” Bentivolio said. “I stood twelve feet away from the guy and listened to him. I couldn’t stand being there, but because he is president I have to respect the office. That’s my job, as a Congressman, I respect the office.”
“I went back to my office and I’ve had lawyers come in” the Congressman continued. “These are lawyers, Ph.Ds in history, and I said ‘tell me how I can impeach the President of the United States.’”
To Bentivolio’s dismay, the lawyers said he couldn’t proceed with impeachment, not unless he wanted to become a “laughingstock” in Washington circles. Bentivolio explained to his agitated constituent that there is no evidence to support articles of impeachment, and that unless something like an email from the Chief of Staff to the IRS directing the agency to target tea party groups surfaced, President Obama would serve out the remaining three years of his term.
Insufficient (or non-existant) evidence has not stopped some of Bentivolio’s Republican colleagues from tossing out similar threats of impeachment during the Obama presidency. Everything from opposing the Bush tax cuts to working towards comprehensive immigration reform to simply governing at all has been enough to start the drum beating.
Bentivolio won his election in November after unexpectedly securing the Republican nomination when former Rep. Thad McCotter failed to qualify for the ballot last year. Before joining Congress, Bentivolio had been a teacher in Michigan, right up until he resigned after being reprimanded for threatening and intimidating his students on multiple occasions.