President Donald Trump is aiming to make Rep. Ben McAdams pay politically for coming out in favor of launching an impeachment investigation over his interactions with Ukraine.
McAdams said Friday an impeachment inquiry is “necessary” because President Trump and his allies are refusing to cooperate with Congress as they look into allegations he pressured the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on political rivals. Trump also asked China to intervene in the 2020 election while talking with reporters outside the White House last week.
McAdams' stance on impeachment came after Sen. Mitt Romney called Trump’s efforts to get foreign governments to investigate Democrat Joe Biden “wrong and appalling.” President Trump spent much of the weekend blasting Romney on Twitter, calling for his impeachment.
Trump’s re-election campaign is launching a $2 million nationwide ad campaign hitting vulnerable Democrats over impeachment. That campaign will reach into Utah’s 4th Congressional District targeting McAdams, who came out in favor of the impeachment inquiry last week. A spokesperson within Trump’s re-election effort says they will begin airing television ads against impeachment in the Salt Lake City market. They did not provide details about the size of the ad buy or how long the ads would run.
Republican National Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said during a Monday teleconference call that the multi-million dollar blitz would put pressure on Democrats who won in Republican districts in 2018.
“This is an effort to hold these Democrats accountable,” she said. “Instead of focusing on healthcare and immigration and other issues they promised during the 2018 campaign, they’re focused on investigations and nullifying the 2016 elections.”
Trump supporters in Utah have scheduled a rally outside of McAdams’ district office on Wednesday to pressure him on impeachment.
“These Democrats have reverted to exactly what we thought they were, puppets of Nancy Pelosi,” said McDaniel.
McAdams is seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in Congress heading into the 2020 election cycle. He squeaked out a win of fewer than 700 votes over Republican Mia Love in 2018. His district remains one of the most Republican in the nation with a partisan lean of R+13.
It’s unclear how much of an impact the attention from Trump and his allies will have on McAdams. He has the highest approval rating of any of Utah’s members of Congress, according to a Utah Political Trends poll from UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics.
For their part, McAdams’ campaign seemed nonplussed by the Trump campaign’s efforts.
“Like many Utahns, including Senator Romney, Congressman McAdams is concerned about the President's behavior and allegations that he undermined our national security for personal and political gain,” said Andrew Roberts, McAdams’ re-election campaign manager. “Congress has a constitutional duty to get to the bottom of this, and it is unfortunate that the President said he wouldn't cooperate without an inquiry. Ben is committed to remaining objective and reserving final judgment until the process concludes.”
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Merchant said the move by the Trump campaign and national Republicans smacks of desperation.
“It’s an example of just how afraid Republicans are of a president being asked to account for his actions,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be effective.”
McAdams has already drawn five Republican challengers who are competing for the GOP nomination to face off against him in the 2020 election.