“This president has led one of the most racist and xenophobic administrations since the Jim Crow era,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said, CNN reports. “Trump needs to know that he is not above the law and the crimes that he has committed, and he must be prosecuted.”
The NAACP’s support for impeachment may just give Democrats divided on the issue the push they need to move forward, Ollie Johnson, chair of the African-American studies department at Wayne State University in Detroit, told the Washington Post.
“The Democratic Party is divided on impeachment, but I don’t think it should be,” Johnson said. “This should encourage them to make a move.”
The NAACP delegates were gathered in Detroit for the NAACP’s national convention, where a number of Democratic candidates hoping to unseat Trump in next year’s presidential election are set to speak later this week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who has so far not backed impeachment spoke to convention attendees Monday and did not mention Trump.
However, frequent Trump target Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), speaking before the convention Monday, publicly backed the move.
“I’m not going nowhere!” Tlaib said during her speech, HuffPost reports, a reference to Trump’s recent attacks against her and three other congresswomen of color, including that they “go back” to where they came from. “Not until we impeach this president!”
Trump begged off making an appearance at the convention, citing issues with scheduling and the fact that the NAACP wanted him to submit to a question-and-answer format like the one the Democratic presidential candidates will face, the Post reports.
In response to news of the NAACP’s impeachment vote, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, in a statement to HuffPost, pushed Trump’s “black” talking points:
“[…] it makes sense that the NAACP invited him to speak at its convention considering he passed criminal justice reform, developed opportunity zones securing record-setting investment in urban areas, and pushed policies that created the lowest unemployment rates ever for African Americans.
“It’s a bit confusing and unfortunate that the NAACP would now push a political agenda instead of celebrating these historic achievements.”
But as the Post notes, Trump’s decision not to attend also came during a week when he launched a racist Twitter tirade against Tlaib and the other three congresswomen often referred to as “the Squad”—Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley.
The NAACP’s decision also comes less than a week after Trump presided over a “Make America Great Again” campaign rally in Greenville, N.C., where his supporters shouted “Send her back! Send her back!” in relation to the Somalia-born Rep. Omar.
“The pattern of Trump’s misconduct is unmistakable and has proven time and time again, that he is unfit to serve as the president of this country,” NAACP President Johnson said.