Technically Thanksgiving is about “giving thanks,” but if we’re being real, it’s also about surviving spending time with your family. Family members say the darndest things, especially when it comes to politics (looking at you and your lizard people conspiracy theories, Uncle Jared).
But this Thanksgiving is special: In addition to your run-of-the-mill debates about identity politics and what’s really causing near-daily mass shootings (guns. it’s because there are too many guns.), this holiday season also presents us with a thriving impeachment inquiry.
With Americans quite literally split down the middle when it comes to whether the president should be impeached and removed from office, this holiday season is likely to be even more tense than usual.
In order to avoid messy drama at the Thanksgiving table this year, we have laid out some responses to typical conservative talking points about Trump’s potential impeachment that might come up this year. Looks like we are what you can be thankful for this year. You’re welcome!
Cute Comment: Presidents trade things with other governments all the time. That’s foreign policy.
Fire Response: Sure, but typically that’s to gain something of value to the United States. What Trump did was try to dig up dirt on a political opponent. With zero evidence that Joe Biden or his son engaged in wrongdoing related to Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, this “dirt” had no value to the U.S, just to Trump’s personal political goals. Ensuring Ukraine got military aid, however, did benefit us.
It’s kind of like when you gave me money to order pizza for all the little cousins when I was babysitting them and I pocketed it to buy frosting flavored lip gloss from Claire’s. Remember how mad at me you got for that? Okay, not a perfect metaphor, but the bottom line is Trump used his office and position of power to benefit himself, not help his own people, and in fact put our national security in jeopardy while he was at it. So.
Ignorant Insight: This is just how the government works, sweetie.
Fire Response: It sure seems to be how government is working rn, but it shouldn’t be! What Trump did is blatantly corrupt…he withheld military aid in an attempt to help his own political campaign. If any Clinton ever did this, you would be losing your mind…and you’d be right! It’d be corrupt. Sure, our government does some shady sh*t, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call them out when they do. Welcome to the resistance, Uncle Ted.
Silly Solution: Why not just let the people decide whether to remove Trump in 2020?
Fire Response: Impeachment is important because it’s the people’s way of showing that we aren’t going to allow a president to get away with breaking the rules. Some behavior is just too fucked up to wait for a performance review. Unchecked power leads to horrific things, and impeachment allows us to stop that from happening, as well as make a historical record that we, as a country, object to this behavior.
If we don’t put our feet down and let the record show that this sh*t doesn’t fly, future presidents will be able to do the same thing. Also, Trump tried to extort the Ukrainian president literally one day after Robert Mueller’s testimony failed to full implicate him in obstruction of justice. One day! What do you think he’d do the day after he wasn’t actually impeached?
President Trump clearly thinks he should be able to get away with things that the Constitution says he shouldn’t. If we don’t stand up to that, our democracy could begin to crumble. Idk about you, but I like my democracy fully intact tyvm. (Never gonna happen because Russia is already f*cking with us again, but worth a try.)
Fake News: There was no quid pro quo.
Fire Response: Mmm, there literally was though. The definition of a quid pro quo is: a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something. Trump expected Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens, and in return, he would give them military aid. Quid. Pro. Quo.
But given that most people first encounter the phrase “quid pro quo” in sexual harassment training, it suddenly makes sense why Trump doesn’t seem to know it.
Also, two people with direct contact with Trump — EU ambassador Gordon Sondland and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — both admitted on live television that there was a quid pro quo. *Sips wine*
Stupid Suggestion: Idk, I think we need to hear from the whistleblower.
Fire response: I don’t really see why that is necessary, seeing as everything the whistleblower said has already been confirmed. Trump himself released the call transcript in which he replies to a foreign government’s ask for support with “I’d like you to do us a favor though” and mention investigations into the Bidens by name.
People who were on the call have confirmed the whistleblower’s concerns, saying even the damning version of the rough transcript released by the White House was altered to hide more explicit references.
But in any event, whistleblowers need to be protected by anonymity for their literal safety. Revealing their identity would put that at risk — and if something awful happened to a whistleblower, you think people would still speak up about dangerous government corruption? Would you? Could that be exactly Trump’s hope by publicly threatening the whistleblower? *Sips more wine*
Misinformer Misdirection: But Trump never had anything to do with it directly.
Fire Response: Sorry hennie, but Gordon Sondland squashed that theory (a good time to ask for someone to pass the squash).
Sondland said that Trump repeatedly asked people to work with Giuliani, and digging up dirt on the Bidens was Giuliani’s mission. Also, a U.S. official based in Kiev, David Holmes, testified last week that he overheard Trump on the phone with Sondland talking about “the investigations,” and Sondland told him directly that Trump only cares about “big stuff” in Ukraine, like “the Biden investigation.”
And I think we all know this sounds legit, because Trump speaking loud enough on the phone for everyone in the building to hear it is the least shocking thing I’ve ever heard.
Nope: Ukraine ultimately got the aid, so what’s it matter?
Fire Response: Do you hear yourself?
Attempting a crime is still…a crime! Ever heard of attempted murder? If you fail at murdering your victim it’s not just a no-harm-no-foul sitch, you still have to answer to the law. Same thing applies here. ALSO, most importantly, Trump only released the aid to after the whistleblower’s report was filed AND after he was notified of it. So like, once Trump had been caught. Coincidence, I THINK NOT AUNT BECKY.
But Ukraine does have a history of corruption. And we give out too much foreign aid anyway!
Measured reaction: True, Cousin Karen. But this new progressive-minded president, Volodymyr Zelensky, had already enacted reforms to combat the country’s issues with corruption. Trump was asking him to behave corruptly! As for foreign aid, if Trump thinks the bill is too high, he has other ways of bringing that to Congress’s attention.
This Ukraine aid packaged had already been approved by Congress because helping Ukraine protect itself against Russian aggression — a reminder, the country is very much at war with Russia — helps U.S. strategic interests and national security.
Cold Take: Okay, so maybe the White House meeting was conditioned upon aid, but none of the witnesses were sure that the military aid was. I think that’s more serious — Ukraine can’t protect itself against Russia without it.
Fire Response: Exactly! But also, sorry. You’re forgetting that White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on live television during a press conference that aid was withheld. He straight-up admitted to a quid pro quo and said the words, “That’s why we held up the money,” and then I believe used the phrase, “Get over it.” So. Oopsies!
I Can’t: But her emails…
Fire Response: OMFG Uncle Paul, in the words of Mick Mulvaney, GET OVER IT. If you’re so obsessed with making sure politicians don’t do shady sh*t for their own personal benefit, then hop on board to this impeachment and bring your but her emails energy to the actual problem happening right now.
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