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Rep. Delgado Discusses His Stance On An Impeachment Inquiry

WAMC, Allison Dunne

Democratic New York Congressman Antonio Delgado held a town hall last Tuesday night in Dutchess County, at the Clinton Town Hall. A number of questions focused on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced September 24. Delgado, of New York’s 19th District, came out in favor of impeachment proceedings hours before Pelosi’s announcement.

It was Delgado’s first town hall since the Democrat voiced support for an impeachment inquiry, following a whistleblower complaint about a phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president.

“It’s important to think about what this means for the country. It’s a sad reality that we find ourselves in this position. I did not come to this decision lightly. In fact, I really had not come out and preferred to keep it just in the lane of an investigation. But I think once the president admitted to soliciting basically a favor from a foreign head of state, and that favor entailed investigating a political rival, that is an abuse of power, an abuse of power of the presidency for the purpose of winning an election and implicates our national security to a degree that I think warrants complete, undivided attention,” Delgado says. “We should still do all the other work that we’re doing, whether that’s the health care, whether that’s rural broadband, whether that’s making sure we help our young people with education and climate change, a lot of big issues, no question but this one needs to also be a focal point in terms of the urgency of the matter and the national security concerns at play.”

Pete, donning a red “Make America Great Again” cap, who declined to give his last name, asked Delgado during the town hall what crime the president committed. Following the town hall, he told reporters that Delgado’s answer did not change his mind that Democrats should drop impeachment efforts.

“No, they didn’t. They proved his ignorance of the law. Now, he’s got great credentials, Harvard Law School.  Where’s the crime?” asked Pete. “The president is the chief executive. He’s allowed to negotiate with other countries. Where’s the crime? Why not look at Joe Biden, he’s the subject.”

And to a reporter’s question about whether he feels voters in the 19th District are on his side…

“Absolutely. This is Trump country,” says Pete. “You know it; I know it.”

Delgado pointed out that the sprawling 11 county-district is split among Democrats, Republicans and independents. A reporter asked Delgado if impeachment would be the issue on which voters judge him in 2020.

“I think there will be a host of things that people will factor. I think it’s important that I continue to do what I’ve been doing, like doing the work, doing the town halls, being accessible, being transparent, being honest and open, and pursuing legislation that I think can affect my community, from dealing with opioids to dealing with infrastructure needs to dealing with climate change to focusing on how we can improve our educational system, helping our farmers, which we’ve been able to do with a bill the president signed,” Delgado says. “So it’s making sure that we continue to help our small business owners, and do that work. And I think the more and more I’m out there doing the work, engaging with folks, being accessible, I think it’ll hopefully speak for itself.”

Another reporter asked whether Delgado feels his constituents support his impeachment inquiry position.

“I think it’s about whether or not we give truth a chance here,” says Delgado.

There were a number of supporters in attendance who agreed with Delgado’s impeachment inquiry support. Delgado says his constituents have different points of view, and further responded that his town hall appearances make a difference.

“Yes, absolutely. I think it’s important no matter what to explain myself, full stop, like I have to come back home and be accountable…” says Delgado.

“Do you think it’s making a difference?” asks a reporter.

“I mean, I would hope it does. I would hope it does. You want to engage with your constituents.  You want to be front and center. You want to own your position. You don’t run away from it. You meet it. That’s what it means to be committed and dedicated to the folks you serve, irrespective of party affiliation,” says Delgado. “So I do the work because I believe it actually can make an impact, positively. I bring folks together in these town halls across the political spectrum because I really hope that we can find some common ground in these incredibly divisive times that are not aided by actors who don’t see any point in assisting us in this way. I think there’s a role for us to play as public servants. Even if we can take positions that are divisive, how you communicate around those positions is just as important as the position itself.”

Plus, he says:

“This is an important right now in our country’s history, and it is not a good one, from any perspective. And I just hope that, I see part of my role in this in helping facilitate us finding common ground, helping us get to a place where through these difficult times we can work our way to some sort of positive outcome. And, is it going to be easy? By no stretch of the imagination," Delgado says. "But I would just call upon everybody, everybody to heed their better angels in these moments and think about the country, think about the country, really put the country first. And I think we could do a lot of good if we do that.”

Delgado holds his next town hall Saturday evening, in Otsego County at the Cherry Valley Community Center.

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