McGovern goes after ‘wingnuts’ for impeachment, censure resolutions, calls GOP a ‘joke’


Staff Writer

Published: 06-23-2023 5:37 PM

Calling the Republican Party “a joke” and referring to its MAGA faction as “wingnuts,” an exasperated U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern took to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday night to accuse Speaker Kevin McCarthy of losing control of the chamber he oversees.

In a 7-minute speech, McGovern vociferously criticized measures brought forth in recent days calling for the censure of U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, and impeachment of President Joe Biden, accusing the Republican Party of hypocrisy regarding their attitudes toward former President Donald Trump.

“Nothing about this is serious,” McGovern said. “Not the process, not the intentions of the resolution sponsor, not the impeachment case, not a single damn thing.”

McGovern, the top-ranking Democrat in the House Rules Committee and whose 2nd District includes many communities in Hampshire and Franklin counties, said the impeachment case, brought forward by Trump ally Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, was lacking in any real substance.

Boebert brought the measure to the House floor without the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s approval, filing a privileged resolution that allows a member to bypass House leadership. Earlier in the week, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Florida, used the same privilege to bring forward a resolution to censure Schiff, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee during investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and led the first impeachment trial of Trump.

“The truth is that Speaker McCarthy has lost control of this House and it is being run by the MAGA fringe,” McGovern said, referring to House Republicans that are strong supporters of Trump. “When the MAGA wingnuts say jump, Speaker McCarthy says, ‘how high?’”

Like the impeachment case against Biden, McGovern called the censure of Schiff was equally without merit.

“Yesterday, Republicans dishonored this House and dishonored themselves by bringing to the floor a ridiculous censure resolution against Adam Schiff, because Donald Trump told them to,” he said.

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McGovern also accused Republicans of hypocrisy on issues regarding law enforcement, as well as engaging in unrealistic censure and impeachment resolutions, but refusing to talk about pressing issues such as climate change and gun control.

“Kids get shot in their classroom, nothing. Environmental disasters destroy entire communities, nothing,” he said. “They have a policy disagreement with President Biden. And their first impulse isn’t, let’s pass an immigration bill, their first impulse is to impeach him.”

The articles of impeachment were ultimately referred to the House’s Homeland Security and Judiciary committees, delaying any action being taken on them. Both the referral of the impeachment and the censure vote were made along partisan lines.

The vote capped days of maneuvering by McCarthy to quell the uprising within his party over a roll call that many did not want to take.

A sudden vote to impeach Biden would have been politically difficult for GOP lawmakers and a potentially embarrassing spectacle for McCarthy, splitting his party. In a private meeting Wednesday, McCarthy encouraged lawmakers to consider the traditional process for bringing such consequential legislation forward.

In the end, McCarthy negotiated a deal with Boebert to send the Biden impeachment resolution for review to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee, fending off a vote for some time.

“I think it’s best for everybody,” McCarthy said.

But conservatives said more such votes are ahead.

“We are just beginning,” said Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, an influential member of the House Freedom Caucus.

Conservatives are lining up votes, for example, to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and censure Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. It’s part of their effort to steer control of the House from the traditional centers of power, including the speaker’s office.

“This is what we were talking about,” said Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a leader in the conservative efforts to block McCarthy’s rise to speaker.

McGovern ended his remarks by referring to Trump, who was recently arraigned at a federal court in Miami for his handling of top secret documents after leaving office, as a “national security risk.”

“Republicans can yell and scream all they want, they can rant and rave so that they get on Fox News tonight,” he said. “They have no respect for the traditions of this house. It is grotesque, it is embarrassing and it is shameful.”

This article contains material from the Associated Press. Alexander MacDougall can be reached at