Hundreds of area residents came out to both support and protest 8th District Representative Elissa Slotkin at an appearance in Hartland Township following her decision last week to support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
Slotkin’s decision, announced last Thursday with six other Congressional Democrats in a joint op-ed in The Washington Post, has generated reaction ranging from outright support to calls for her to be impeached. A scheduled coffee chat yesterday in East Lansing attracted an overflow crowd inside, and protestors outside, with most of the discussion surrounding the impeachment issue.
The scene was similar this morning as Slotkin continued her tour in Hartland at the Cromaine District Library, where she was met by throngs of residents, both for and against her.
In between, she stopped by the WHMI studios for a discussion with Mike & Jon in the Morning. When asked why she changed her previous position against a formal process, Slotkin pointed to the whistleblower allegation that Trump tried to use his presidential power to get Ukraine’s president to investigate the son of political rival Joe Biden. “Pushing for an inquiry gave it a seriousness I thought it deserved. I came out with a bunch of folks who were former military and former intel because for us we felt like this was different. Particularly because it was forward-looking, it was about 2020 and not looking backwards. The many investigations that have come beforehand have all been about looking backwards and hadn’t been so clearly stated by the President, who acknowledged that he did this. Also, it’s important that people actually show up and talk and tell us if we’re wrong…If he didn’t do it, the onus is on the administration to explain that they didn’t do it.”
Slotkin said anyone, most especially the President of the United States, who is concerned about Americans engaged in overseas corruption should contact the FBI and not set a precedent of foreign influence in American elections. Trump supporters in Hartland argued that the President can’t trust his intelligence agency, accusing some within of trying to take him down. Slotkin, who worked in national security for the CIA, said she had to amicably disagree with the notion that the CIA and FBI could not be trusted.
Williamston resident Norm Shanko wasn’t convinced. He told WHMI, “She’s been a part of this from day one. She worked for the CIA when Trump got elected. Think about that. And this whistle blower, where are they from, the CIA? All you do is put the two together. Slotkin’s part of the process, that’s not her job. She doesn’t belong in this district. We’re gonna replace her in 2020.”
Paul Junge of Brighton accused Slotkin of not following through with her campaign promises, suggesting she may have had an ulterior motive. He said, “When Ms. Slotkin ran, she said she’d focus on health care and jobs and things that mattered to this community. Instead, I think it’s clear. It’s like Rashida Tlaib who said ‘Let’s impeach the MF’er.’ She might not be as vocal, but she was waiting, and what she wants to do is overturn an election. And we’re barely a year away from another. For the people that had enough of Mr. Trump, come out and vote. And for the people of the 8th District, I think we deserve better. We deserve someone that would do what she said she would do and that is focus on the issues that people in this district care about. ”
Tom Moran of Tyrone Township came out in support of Slotkin, applauding her actions. Moran told WHMI, “She put her duty to protect our national security ahead of her political career. You can see by the folks out here that Livingston County probably isn’t going to be in favor of this, but I salute her for trying to get to the bottom of things, for not prejudging, for not jumping to conclusions. But for saying we need to have hearings, need to have people under oath. I want to find out why this conversation was put on a secret server, there was a code word ‘classified,’ it was hidden from public view. Something’s going on and I want to know what it is.”
Slotkin said the inquiry is necessary for gathering information as the facts aren’t coming to them just by asking, pointing attention to unanswered congressional subpoenas. She told constituents that they have her commitment that she will wait for facts and that she has not made a decision. When the facts are in, she says she will do as her conscience tells her.
She acknowledged the 8th District has a diverse set of opinions on the issue and she’s glad to hear from all sides in a civil discussion, which she hopes the remaining events will produce. But the decision to support a formal inquiry is a risky one for her politically, considering the 8th District, most especially Livingston County, is still deemed to be relatively conservative. With a narrow win in 2018 over Republican Mike Bishop, Slotkin says she understands there are many supporters of the President among her constituents and that she is keeping an open mind as the inquiry process moves forward.
Her next coffee talk event is scheduled for tomorrow in Rochester.