Carol Costello badgered Congressman Matt Salmon on Thursday's 9 AM EDT hour of CNN Newsroom over Congress choosing to go into recess instead of dealing with issues like illegal immigration: "Congress is again the butt of jokes on late-night TV. Rome burns and lawmakers go on vacation....Why don't you guys just stay in Washington and deal with problems like immigration?"
Costello later hounded the Arizona Republican for the House of Representatives' vote to sue President Obama, and wondered, "Why didn't Republicans vote to impeach the President then?" She also rattled off a list of GOP politicians who had raised the specter of impeachment in the past: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
CAROL COSTELLO: ...The Washington Post points out, Republicans have consistently threatened to impeach the President – Sarah Palin, Darrell Issa in 2010 over a Cabinet position; in December of 2011, Congressman Sensenbrenner threatened impeachment over Fast and Furious; in May of 2013, Senator James Inhofe threatened impeachment over Benghazi. And the list goes on. In other words, Republicans gave Democrats ammunition for this.
The anchor led her interview of Rep. Salmon with her "Rome burns" statement, and wondered, "What can you say to prove that wrong to the American people?" The GOP politician retorted, in part, that "it's not quite a vacation. In fact, some of the hardest work that we do is in our own districts." This answer didn't satisfy Costello, and followed up by asking her "why don't you guys just stay in Washington" question. The guest took the opportunity to attack Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
REP. MATT SALMON (R), ARIZONA: I believe that we may have to give Harry Reid a little time to catch up. We have 355 bills that the House has passed that are sitting in his drawer – forty of them which would create jobs in America – that they've done nothing to take action on. We've passed eight appropriation bills. The Senate hasn't – has not passed one. And so, honestly, I believe that the Senate needs to get off its duff and do something.
It should be pointed out that just over a week earlier, Costello did take President Obama to task for continuing his fundraising trip to the West Coast, instead of dealing with the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
Costello then spent the bulk of the rest of the segment on the House's lawsuit vote and on the question of whether President Obama should be impeached. She first asked Rep. Salmon why he voted in favor of the proposal. When the Arizona Republican zeroed in on the Democrat "arbitrarily" changing the timeline for the implementation of ObamaCare, the CNN anchor wondered, "Why didn't Republicans vote to impeach the President then?" Rep. Salmon answered, "Well, I don't think that that would go anywhere. And so, why waste the people's time right now?"
Despite this answer, Costello hounded her guest on the issue of impeachment:
COSTELLO: I – and I hear what you're saying, and I know that most Republicans say this lawsuit is different than impeachment. Of course, Democrats don't agree. They say this is, kind of, impeachment-lite, and the only thing Republicans can get away with, since public opinion polls show most Americans don't support impeachment. Is that true?
SALMON: They're desperately hoping to try to throw the impeachment thing out there because, honestly, their campaigns are all in disarray. The President recently, in a poll, was selected as the worst president since World War II, and they're all running scared. They're trying to do a Hail Mary, and God bless them for that.
COSTELLO: Well, the Democrats – I mean, the Democrats are throwing the impeachment word out there – they are – and they're raising money off it. All of that is true-
COSTELLO: But as – as The Washington Post points out, Republicans have consistently threatened to impeach the President – Sarah Palin, Darrell Issa in 2010 over a Cabinet position; in December of 2011, Congressman Sensenbrenner threatened impeachment over Fast and Furious; in May of 2013, Senator James Inhofe threatened impeachment over Benghazi. And the list goes on. In other words, Republicans gave Democrats ammunition for this....
SALMON: Look, nobody believes that anybody is going to file impeachment charges against the President, and it's not going to go anywhere.
Near the end of the segment, the anchor played a clip of President Obama calling on Republicans to "stop hating all the time" and to "get some work done together." The Republican congressman responded to this by blasting the chief executive's leadership:
SALMON: You know, if the President really wants to get something done together, why doesn't he ask Harry Reid to dig out a few of those bills?...why doesn't Senator Reid even take up a fraction of the bills that have passed the body – this body, the House – in bipartisan support? Why do they sit on them? And if the President really wants to get something done, why isn't he pressuring Senator Reid to get those things done?...
I saw the President yesterday yucking it up with everybody. But instead of doing that, why doesn't he roll up his sleeves; why doesn't he ever come to Congress; why doesn't he even meet with people in his own party, that are also grousing on the floor, that this is the most disengaged president that any of us can ever remember? Why doesn't he roll his sleeves up and get involved in the process – get his hands a little bit dirty? If he focused as much on getting stuff done as he does on golfing and on yucking it up on late-night TV, we might be able to actually get something done. I'm looking for a leader in the White House.