While Iowa Republicans say they don’t talk about the possibility of President Donald Trump being impeached because it’s not what Iowans want to talk about, over 80 people packed into the Waukee Community Center Thursday night to hear Democratic Representative Cindy Axne talk about just that.
The community center had seats for 80 people. Those were all full of Iowans — some there to support Axne and some wearing red MAGA hats — and more onlookers were standing in the back of the room. Some people were kept in the entryway and others were kept out of the building because it was at capacity.
One of the first questions Axne was asked was about why House Democrats are pursuing an impeachment inquiry. The questioner suggested they should be more worried about passing the USMCA trade deal.
“I do want to set the record clear on one thing: There’s a heck of a lot I can do at the same time,” Axne said. “And, by the way, when folks are out here saying Democrats aren’t getting anything done because of this impeachment, I would argue that the very same day that the impeachment inquiry came out, I was the only member of congress who wrote an agriculture bill…”
Axne’s sentence was cut off by applause.
The crowd was fairly respectful the entire night, moreso arguing with themselves than Axne.
At one point, a woman in the audience stood up and said she had printed a copy of the unclassified conversation between Donald Trump and the President of Ukraine, and she didn’t think it had evidence of high crime and misdemeanors.
A man in the front of the room yelled, “Hey miss, do you have a copy of the Constitution with you?” back at her.
At this point, a woman working for Axne stepped in and said she’d be happy to have a conversation in the lobby about impeachment if anyone would like to, then various people in the audience started yelling random things until someone said, “let the congresswoman answer.”
Axne thanked the person and told the woman she had read the summary of President Trump’s calls.
“You and I read it very differently,” Axne said. “I read it as a conversation where the President of our country asked a foreign power, the President of Ukraine, to look into his possible opponent for the 2020 election. That’s exactly what he’s asking…”
Axne was cut off by more yelling, but added, “Just to clarify, this is an impeachment inquiry. It is part of the process.”
A man then yelled that the House needs to bring an impeachment inquiry to vote.
“Excuse me,” Axne said to the man. “We can subpoena folks for an impeachment inquiry to our hearings and what we’re seeing from this administration — keeping people from coming to testify and obstructing information from getting to us — is also a violation of the oath of office.”
There was a drawn out round of applause as Axne’s supporters tried to cover up some jeers from the audience.
“I’m sure we could sit here all night talking about that, but that’s the answer to the question,” Axne said once the crowd calmed down. “That’s what I support. Also, I want to talk about the other issues the people in this district are facing.”
“We’ve got folks here that I know have seen increases in their mobile home parks because of predators who are picking up these mobile home courts and then charging exorbitant rate for folks,” Axne continued. “Those are big issues that we’re facing.”
by Paige Godden
Photo by Julie Fleming