ATLANTIC CITY — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told New Jersey Democrats Friday evening that she’s not thrilled about starting an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, but that she’s obligated to do so.
“This is not a cause for any joy that we have to go down this path. It’s a difficult decision to make,” Pelosi told several hundred party faithful gathered in an Atlantic City casino ballroom for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee‘s convention. “But we have that obligation because the actions that were taken undermine the constitution and the oath we take to protect and defend, including the oath that the president takes.”
Story Continued Below
New Jersey Democrats had fortuitous timing in lining up Pelosi to headline their convention. They announced her appearance in late August — weeks before the whistleblower complaint surfaced about Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president and his request for him to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Those actions led Pelosi to endorse an impeachment inquiry into the president’s actions.
Pelosi said the Founding Fathers “would never have thought that anyone would be so abusive of the system.”
“The times have found us all. Not that we place ourselves in the same category of greatness of our founders, but we do place ourselves in the time of urgency to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” she said.
Pelosi’s speech capped a two-day convention by a Democratic Party that dominates New Jersey politics, but has been riven by constant battles between Gov. Phil Murphy, the party’s progressive base and public sector unions on one side and Senate President Steve Sweeney, South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross and their allies in the state Legislature on other.
Nevertheless, Democratic State Committee spokesperson Phil Swibinski said about 2,300 people attended the convention at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. But while Sweeney skipped the event, there was some South Jersey Democratic presence. Rep. Donald Norcross, the brother of George Norcross, was present Friday and participated in a panel discussion.
Murphy and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) spoke before Pelosi.
Booker, who’s struggling to gain traction for his presidential campaign but was greeted enthusiastically by his home-state and home-party crowd, warned that “we cannot allow moral vandalism from the highest office in our lands.”
And Murphy, noting Trump’s past casino troubles in Atlantic City, said New Jersey “had our fill of Trump before America did.”
“We saw that he couldn’t cut it in Atlantic City,” Murphy said.
Democrats also congratulated themselves for victories in last year’s congressional elections, when they flipped four Republican-held House seats, securing an 11-1 majority in the delegation.
“[Pelosi] is here today because of you,” Rep. Albio Sires told fellow Democrats during a panel discussion. “We’ve got 11 members out of the 12 in New Jersey.”