WASHINGTON – Minnesota Sen. Al Franken cautioned Democrats against rushing to impeach President Donald Trump, saying Vice President Mike Pence could be worse.
In an interview with International Business Times, Franken took a shot at Pence, calling him a “zealot” that would be “worse than Trump” on domestic policy.
“He’s ideological, I consider him a zealot, and I think that in terms of a lot of domestic policy certainly would be worse than Trump,” Franken told IBT.
Franken, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s White House Cabinet picks, said Pence is to blame for some of the “very worst” nominees.
“Pence ran the transition and some of the very worst nominees, I felt — [EPA chief Scott] Pruitt, [Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos, [Health and Human Services Secretary Tom] Price, [Budget director Mick] Mulvaney — were Pence selections, clearly, I think,” Franken said in the interview with IBT.
Franken made headlines during DeVos’ nomination hearing for his harsh criticism and obvious disdain for the Education Secretary nominee. During the January hearing, Franken accused DeVos of being anti-LGBT and supporting conversion therapy, citing donations from relatives of DeVos to organizations like Focus on the Family as reason to believe that DeVos herself held this belief. Following DeVos’ confirmation in February, Franken issued a statement, calling Devos the “most incompetent cabinet-level nominee I have ever seen.”
Despite the harsh words for Pence, Franken was not letting Trump off the hook. The senator doubled down on his concerns over Trump’s mental health, saying he would be “more comfortable” with Pence handling foreign affairs.
“If you’re talking about how we handle North Korea or something like that, I’d probably be more comfortable with Pence ultimately making those decisions than Trump, because of Trump’s personality and character,” Franken told IBT. “I think that [Trump] is so outside the norm in his behavior that that actually does concern me, and it concerns me that I don’t know what he will do if he looks like he’s going to be impeached and he wants to deflect. I don’t know what he’s capable of, and that really does concern me.”
This latest talk of impeachment comes as Democrats have lost four straight special elections for House seats left vacant by Trump’s cabinet nominees. Most notably, in the most expensive House race in history, Democrat Jon Ossoff lost to Republican Karen Handel, leaving Georgia’s sixth congressional seat in the hands of the GOP. Handel fills Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s seat.