Lawrence backs off call for censure, reinforces impeachment support

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Democratic U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence is walking back statements she made on a Detroit area podcast Sunday in which she seemed to be wavering on her support of President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Republican groups, such as the National Republican Congressional Committee, had noted her remarks about censuring Trump, using them to ask why freshman Democratic Reps. Haley Stevens of Rochester Hills and Elissa Slotkin of Holly weren't similarly backing off support of possible impeachment.  

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence speaks at the NAACP 64th Annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner at Cobo Center.

Lawrence of Southfield issued a Tuesday statement noting she was an early supporter of Trump’s impeachment inquiry and found Senate Republicans behavior regarding the impeachment “unacceptable.”

“The House Intelligence Committee followed a very thorough process in holding hearings these past two weeks,” Lawrence said. “The information they revealed confirmed that this president has abused the power of his office, therefore I continue to support impeachment.”

The statement came a couple days after Lawrence told reporter Charlie LeDuff that lawmakers could “censure,” not “remove” the president.

“Sitting here, knowing how divided this country is, I don’t see the value of kicking him out of office, but I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable,” Lawrence said during a Sunday episode of No BS News Hour.

LeDuff asked Lawrence whether she felt it was “unwise to tear him from the chair” during an election year.

“Yes,” she responded. “I want him censured. I want it on the record that the House of Representatives did their jobs.”

The comments were quickly picked up by conservative magazine National Review and highlighted by the Republican Party, which argued the comments were proof that “the castle Nancy Pelosi and her far-left allies have built is already crumbling.”

“It makes you wonder: If a solid-blue Democrat is already flipping, how much longer will vulnerable Democrats like Haley Stevens and Elissa Slotkin continue to resist their districts and support this sham impeachment effort?” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Ellie Hockenbury said in a Tuesday email.

Lawrence backed an impeachment investigation into Trump as early as June alongside Michigan U.S. Reps. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township; Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit; and Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township; and Rep. Justin Amash, I-Grand Rapids.

The Michigan delegation's seven Democrats and Amash voted for the impeachment inquiry, while the remaining six Republicans rejected the hearings.