MSNBC’s Williams Falsely Insists ‘No One Threatened to Impeach George Bush’

MSNBC contributor Jimmy Williams blurred the lines of reality while arguing with Republican strategist Ron Christie on Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt. The two men were sparring over the desire among some Republicans to impeach Attorney General Eric Holder.

Witt asked how Holder can work with Republicans when some of them are calling for his impeachment, and Christie responded with an example from the George W. Bush presidency:

 


Well, if you look back to what happened with President Bush, of course then Harry Reid called him dumb. I mean, how did the president work with Harry Reid after he made those comments? Well, you do your job on behalf of the American people, and I think that's what the attorney general should do rather than doing his bidding for the president.
 

However, this comparison did not sit well with Williams. He countered, “Calling the president of the United States dumb, which a lot of people say the same thing about Barack Obama, is different than impeaching the president of the United States.”

There are two things to note here. First, this discussion was about impeaching Holder, not President Obama. Williams shouldn’t try to shift the topic. Second, the caricature of Bush as dumb was far more prevalent than the image of Obama as dumb. Some people have called Obama dumb, but that sentiment hasn’t infected the American mainstream as it did under Bush.

Williams continued: “In fact, if I recall, when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker, she explicitly said, we will not be impeaching George W. Bush. So no one threatened to impeach George Bush.”

Pelosi may have taken impeachment off the table, but there were, in fact, others who did threaten to impeach President Bush. In 2008, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced 35 articles of impeachment against Bush in the House of Representatives. In 2005, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) tried to create an investigative committee to consider impeaching the president. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), both before and after he was elected to Congress, called for Bush’s impeachment. In fact, Speaker Pelosi admitted in 2007 that she would probably favor impeachment if she were not in the House.

Jimmy Williams is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own error-laden alternate history.

Below is a transcript of the exchange:

 

ALEX WITT: Does it help to hold the impeachment threat over his head the whole time, or should the GOP try to actually work with him?

RON CHRISTIE: Well, I think the GOP has consistently tried to work with him for the last five years. I don’t think it rises to the level of impeachment. Impeachment, of course, is high crimes and misdemeanors.I don't think he's committed high crimes, but I do think he's become the most politicized attorney general in the United States –

WITT: Can I just ask you though, how does one work effectively with someone when you're calling for impeachment? Some of the highest ranking Republicans have been doing that. How do you say that you can work effectively with someone you’re saying, by the way, we think you should be impeached?

CHRISTIE: Well, if you look back to what happened with President Bush, of course then Harry Reid called him dumb. I mean, how did the president work with Harry Reid after he made those comments? Well, you do your job on behalf of the American people, and I think that's what the attorney general should do rather than doing his bidding for the president.



JIMMY WILLIAMS: But there's a difference. Calling the president of the United States dumb, which a lot of people say the same thing about Barack Obama, is different than impeaching the president of the United States. In fact, if I recall, when Nancy Pelosi was speaker, she explicitly said, we will not be impeaching George W. Bush. So no one threatened to impeach George Bush. But you have a sitting senator, a freshman senator who’s clearly running for president who wants to impeach the attorney general. I hope like hell he does. I hope he introduces impeachment articles in the United States Senate next week – or actually they're on spring break, but when they get back. I think that would be fabulous for the fall elections.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.