In N.H. visit, Steyer makes case for impeaching Trump

  • Tom Steyer, billionaire activist and advocate for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, speaks at a town hall in Bow on Wednesday. Paul Steinhauser / For the Monitor

  • Tom Steyer, billionaire activist and advocate for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, speaks at a town hall in Bow on Wednesday. Paul Steinhauser / For the Monitor

  • Environmental activist & billionaire Tom Steyer sits at his offices in San Francisco on June 27, 2018 AP file

For the Monitor
Published: 7/11/2018 9:40:38 PM

Tom Steyer is on a mission to impeach President Donald Trump and to turn out young voters for Democratic candidates in November.

The billionaire philanthropist, environmentalist and liberal activist highlighted those goals Wednesday during a quick trip to New Hampshire.

“He’s met the criteria to be impeached. He’s dangerous to our democracy. He’s dangerous to the safety and health of the American people,” Steyer said of Trump.

He targeted the president during an interview with the Monitor and WKXL Radio hours before holding a “Need to Impeach” town hall in Bow that organizers said drew 470 people.

Steyer argued that Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits government officials from receiving gifts, offices or titles from foreign states without prior consent. And he said the president has obstructed justice.

“We don’t need any more evidence to know that he in fact takes payments every single day from foreign governments – that’s specifically prohibited by the Constitution, where the remedy is impeachment,” he claimed.

Steyer charged that Trump “has obstructed justice almost on a daily basis to try and thwart and undermine and prevent the investigation of his campaign and its potential collusion with the Russian government in his election.”

Steyer, the founder and leader of the grass-roots political group NextGenAmerica, started a petition drive last October to impeach and remove Trump from the White House.

“People have reacted to it much more strongly than anyone would have ever expected,” he said. “We have five-and-a-half million people who’ve signed our petition.”

As part of that push, he’s holding some 30 town halls across the nation. The goal is to hear from Americans around the country and decide “what we should do about this president who is reckless, lawless and dangerous,” he said.

And there were people to hear from Tuesday night. Some people waited in line for two hours before the doors opened for the Bow town hall.

After making brief comments at the start, including calling the president a “dummy,” Steyer answered audience questions.

One audience member criticized Steyer for calling the president names, saying it hurts the push for widespread support for impeachment.

“You push people on the fence away from what you and we want to do,” said the man, who identified himself as Brandon from Concord.

Steyer was asked about his opinion of this week’s nomination of U.S. Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“We are at grave risk here,” Steyer said. “He is someone who is a hard-right-movement conservative.”

While very outspoken about impeaching Trump, Steyer demurred when it came to his own presidential ambitions.

Steyer said he’s thinking only of the midterm elections and the push for Democrats to win back majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, as well as governorships.

“Until Nov. 6, 2018, happens, we are totally focused on that day, on creating as much grass-roots movement as possible,” he said.

But Steyer dropped some hints of his presidential aspirations.

“I am definitely going to be 100 percent for social justice in the United States on November 7, 2018, which is the day after Election Day,” he said.

“I am extremely determined to get the United States off this disastrous path we’re on,” he added.

And he was clear that he wouldn’t run as an independent or on any unity ticket in 2020.

“I could not see joining an independent run with someone who’s considered to be a moderate Republican like John Kasich, because as far as I’m concerned the kind of vision that we need is what is now considered a progressive vision. I strongly believe that,” he said.

In his interview, Steyer touted NextGenAmerica as “the largest grass-roots organization in the United States” of people under 35.

His organization’s reach – along with his estimated $1.6 billion in wealth – could come in handy if he launches a Democratic presidential campaign.

But for now, he’s sticking to turning out young voters this fall. Before the town hall in Bow, he gathered with NextGen New Hampshire organizers and volunteers at an event at True Brew Barista in Concord. And on Friday, he will gather with NextGen organizers and volunteers before they canvass in Manchester.

Steyer said he’ll spend up to $1 million this year in New Hampshire, one of 11 states where NextGen is concentrating its grass-roots organizing efforts. He said the group has 18 full-time staffers on the ground in the Granite State, and it’s expected to top 30 before the November election.

“When we have conversations with young people, we can get the turnout up by a third,” Steyer said. “We know that young people can make the difference when in fact they are involved, if they know how important they are and if they show up at the polls.”

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