Remarks as prepared for delivery below.
“Madame Speaker — I am about to say something my Democrat colleagues hate to hear.
“Donald J. Trump is President of the United States. He is President today. He will be President tomorrow. And he will be President when this impeachment is over. When they accept that, maybe this House can get back to work for the American people.
“Tonight I rise not as the leader of the opposition of this impeachment, or even an elected representative from California’s Central Valley. I rise as Kevin McCarthy, citizen. No better, or worse, than the 435 representatives sitting in this chamber, or the 330 million Americans watching this institution make what I believe will be one of the worst decisions we have ever made.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Liberal or conservative. First generation, or 10th. At our core, we are all American. All of us. We choose our future. We choose what kind of nation we want to be.
“Here is our choice tonight:
“Will we let impeachment become an exercise of raw political power, regardless if it damages our country? Or will we protect the proper grounds and process for impeachment now and in the future?
“For months, Democrats and many in the media have attempted to normalize the impeachment process that would remove a duly elected President from office. After 3 years of breathless and baseless outrage, this is their last attempt to stop the Trump presidency. Speaker Pelosi even recently admitted that Democrats had been working on this impeachment for ‘two and a half’ years. Those were her words, not mine.
“Because they lost to him in 2016, they’ll do anything to stop him in 2020.
“That’s not America. That’s not how democratic republics behave. Elections matter. Voters matter. And in eleven months the people’s voice will be heard again.
“Impeachment is the most consequential decision Congress can make other than sending our men and women into war. Yet 85 days ago Speaker Pelosi chose to impeach the President of the United States. She wrote the script and created an artificial timeline to make the details fit. Why else are we doing this hours before Christmas?
“If that’s all this was — a rush to judgment — she could be forgiven. But, before the Speaker saw one word, one shred of evidence, she moved to impeach.
“In the past, such a step demanded a vote — from all of us — from the start. But not only did she move to impeach before she gave this House — and the hundreds of millions of people we represent — a say in whether to pursue an impeachment inquiry, she threw out the bipartisan standards and institutional precedents this House gave Presidents Nixon and Clinton.
“That is why I immediately sent Speaker Pelosi a letter asking her to follow the rules of history, of tradition, and follow those standards that had served America well.
“She rejected it.
“She rejected it because Democrats knew a fair process would crumble their case.
“A fair process would have exposed to the American public what many already knew: Democrats have wanted to impeach President Trump since the day he was elected…and nothing was going to get in their way — certainly not the truth.
- Chairman Schiff said he had evidence — more than circumstantial — of collusion. That was false.
- In January, mere hours after being sworn-in, Rep. Rashida Tlaib said ‘We’re going to impeach the motherf’er.’
- A year before taking the majority, Chairman Nadler campaigned to fellow Democrats that he should lead the Judiciary Committee because he is the ‘strongest member to lead a potential impeachment.’
- And Rep. Jamie Raskin, a leading Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told the crowd he would impeach President Trump — two days before President Trump was even sworn in.
“What we’ve seen is a rigged process that has led to the most partisan and least credible impeachment in American history. That is your legacy. Any prosecutor in the country would be disbarred for such blatant bias, especially if he was a fact witness, judge, and jury. But Democrats haven’t just failed on process. They’ve also failed on evidence.
“I’ve heard a lot of debate on the floor today. But I haven’t heard one Member dispute this simple fact: President Trump provided lethal aid to Ukraine. It came before the call, after the call, and continues to this day. President Trump provided Ukraine tank-busting bombs. The previous administration gave them blankets.
“This is the truth. Meanwhile, the Democrat case is based on second-hand opinions and hearsay. Simply put: they have no grounds for impeachment.
“As constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, a Democrat who did not vote for the President, said under oath: ‘there was no bribery, no extortion, no obstruction of justice, and no abuse of power.’
“Based on the facts…based on the truth…based on the lack of evidence, Turley called this the fastest, thinnest, and weakest impeachment in US history.
“Such a definitive answer should be the end of it.
“But Speaker Pelosi is still moving forward with this impeachment, without evidence or facts or truth or public support. The Speaker says it is out of ‘allegiance to our Founders.’ On this, I agree with the Speaker — we should listen to the Founders. And if one does, it is clear that this impeachment is unfounded and improper.
“In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton wrote: there would always be the ‘greatest danger’ that impeachment would be driven by partisan ‘animosities’ instead of ‘real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.’ James Madison, another author of the Federalist Papers, wrote: the danger of legislative abuse ‘must lead to the same tyranny as is threatened’ by executive abuse. The Founders did not want impeachment to be used for political and partisan battles.
“If my colleagues do not want to follow the Constitution’s high standards for undoing a national election, perhaps they could have followed Speaker Pelosi’s standard — at least, the one she promised to follow back in March.
“It is a very sensible standard. She says: ‘impeachment is so divisive’ that the evidence must be ‘overwhelming,’ ‘compelling,’ and ‘bipartisan.’ Not one of those criteria has been met today. Based on the facts…based on the evidence…based on the truth…this impeachment even fails that Pelosi Test.
“Those who say removing President Trump would protect the integrity of our democracy have it backwards. By removing a duly-elected President on empty articles of impeachment, Congress would erode public trust in our system of government.
“We know Democrats hate President Trump, his beliefs, the way he governs, and even the people who voted for him. They say so, day after day. In 2016, they dismissed his supporters, calling us ‘deplorables.’ Now, they are trying to disqualify our voice before the 2020 election.
“They want to undo the results of the last election to influence the next one.
“As I said — President Trump will still be President when this is all over. But Congress will have wasted months of time and taxpayer dollars on impeachment rather than doing what the American people want us to do.
“It didn’t have to be this way. Is this why we came here to serve? To trample on due process rights? To issue more subpoenas than laws? To appease the new Democrat-socialist base?
“That isn’t leadership. It’s raw partisan politics. And you know it.
“By refusing to acknowledge the truth or follow the facts — by substituting partisan ‘animosities’ for ‘real demonstrations of innocence or guilt’ — and by continuing the three-year effort to undermine the President, this impeachment has divided this nation without any concern for the repercussions.
“Moreover, politicizing this process has discredited the United States House of Representatives and could forever weaken the remedy of impeachment.
“To again quote Professor Turley, it is the Democrats’ rush to impeachment on these grounds, with unfair procedures, that is an ‘abuse of power.’
“Madame Speaker — as I said at the beginning, we face a choice: Do you trust the wisdom of the people or do you deny them a say in their government?
“Fortunately, the people will have the opportunity to speak up and render their verdict in 11 short months. To my fellow Americans — If you approve of the way this House has conducted its business — if you want to see your tax dollars go towards endless investigations — support impeachment.
“But if you want to restore a working Congress — like the previous Congress that listened to you and worked to bring the best economy this country has ever seen and will once again work with the President to get things done for you and your family — then join Republicans in rejecting this baseless impeachment. That’s what’s wonderful about this system of ours: we are a government of, by, and for the people.
“Always remember, we work for you, not the other way around.
“I say this stronger and with more conviction than I have ever said it before. In this time of great trial and tribulation, may … God … bless … America.”