House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies, D-New York, defended the surprise appearance of fellow Democrat Rep. Al Green of Texas during Tuesday’s vote that ultimately tanked a Republican effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“It’s not our responsibility to let House Republicans know which members will or will not be present on the House floor on any other day or in connection with any given vote,” Jeffries told reporters Wednesday in the Capitol, The Hill reported.
Green, who was receiving health care at a hospital, appeared in the House chamber in a wheelchair wearing hospital garb to cast his ballot. The move surprised Republicans, who had little wiggle room after three of their own voted no.
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Digital has reached out to Green’s office.
The vote was 216-214. Lawmakers voted on a resolution combining two articles of impeachment accusing Mayorkas of having “refused to comply with Federal immigration laws” and the other of having violated “public trust.”
They were Reps. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.; Ken Buck, R-Colo.; and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis. The lawmakers said while they disapproved of the job Mayorkas is doing at the southern border, the threshold for impeachment had not been met, and warned it could be used against future Republican administrations.
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“We can basically … look at this as a game, unfortunately, and their strategy. And they hid one of their members, waiting to the last minute, watching to see our votes, trying to throw us off on the numbers that we had versus the numbers they had,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R- Georgia, said. “That was a strategy at play tonight.”
Jefferies said Green wasn’t coerced by his Democratic colleagues to participate in Tuesday’s vote.
“He has told his story directly and he made it clear to me that it was important for him to be present to cast a vote against this sham impeachment led by Marjorie Taylor Greene, targeting a hard-working public servant like Secretary Mayorkas,” Jeffries said.
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While speaking to reporters, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, said the vote was changed when “people who show up when they’re not expected to be in the building.”