Fox News‘ Chris Wallace no longer bothers to pretend he hates President Trump. During a contentious interview on Sunday with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, he brought up the number of Republicans that are breaking with or at least distancing themselves from Trump after his decision to pull troops out of Northern Syria. He pointed out Mitch McConnell’s scathing op-ed last week in addition to House Republicans voting 129 to 60 to rebuke the decision.
Then, Wallace informed Mulvaney that a source, a well-connected Republican D.C. insider, “it’s a name you would know well,” had told him that if Trump is impeached by the House and a trial in the Senate follows, there is a 20% chance he would be voted out of office. The question comes at 11:40 in the video below.
Mulvaney sees the comment for what it is and instantly dismisses it. “That’s just absurd. But let’s deal with the issue of Syria.”
Wallace immediately cuts him off, and says forcefully, “No, let’s deal with the issue of Republicans – you’re losing your support.”
Mulvaney responds, “The 20%. That person clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about…No, the president is extraordinarily popular back home, more popular in the swing districts now that impeachment has started.”
A supermajority, or 67 Senators, would be required to remove the President from office. Currently, there are 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 Independents serving in the Senate. Both Independents caucus with the Democrats. They would still need 20 Republicans to vote against Trump.
Mitt “Pierre Delecto” Romney is one and there would be a handful of others. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) and possibly Susan Collins (R-ME) come to mind. The reality is that chances of a Trump conviction in a Senate trial are closer to nil.
Wallace’s remark filled Democrats’ with glee. The Washington Post immediately published an article entitled “A few Republican cracks on impeachment are showing” which can be viewed here.
The article cites Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who, ahead of the Syria decision, had been one of the President most loyal supporters. Graham is vehemently opposed to pulling U.S. troops out of Northern Syria and has been fiercely critical of Trump.
They point to Graham’s comments during an interview with Axios last Tuesday. When asked if he supported impeachment, he said, “Sure. I mean … show me something that … is a crime. If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”
On Saturday night, Graham appeared on Fox News’ “Justice with Jeanine Pirro” and was still quite worked up.
Following the show, he spoke on the phone with President Trump and by the time he appeared on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” his tone had changed significantly.
If the Washington Post is looking for a serious and permanent break between the two, it might be premature.
A discussion of whether or not Trump made the right call on Syria is beyond the scope of this post. But there is a huge difference between disagreeing with the President on a policy decision and removing him from office.
And it may be time for Chris Wallace to follow Shepard Smith out the door.