Ahead of Thursday’s impeachment hearings, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) joined MSNBC to offer up her defense of Donald Trump. But her “constitutional” argument didn’t fly with anchor Chuck Todd.
Mace—who just last week was fundraising off dishonest attacks on her colleague, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), claiming she exaggerated the threat to her own life during the Capitol riots—said she tried to watch the House impeachment managers’ video presentation but only got halfway through.
“I felt physically ill, I cried when I watched it,” she said, before pivoting to elaborate on violent threats that she has received. “Rhetoric does have consequences,” Mace added. “And watching that video brought me to my knees. It was very emotional to see that and what we went through. I never want to see this again in our country.”
But all of that being said, Mace said her mind has not been changed on President Donald Trump’s culpability.
“For the same reasons I voted against impeachment were the same reasons I voted to certify the Electoral College, because of the Constitution,” she explained. “Impeaching a president who is no longer president has never been done before in this country.”
At that point, anchor Craig Melvin was forced to cut in and remind the congresswoman that Trump “was impeached while he was president.”
After an uncomfortable pause, she said, “Right, this is a second impeachment trial. We have never impeached a president who is no longer president. That’s never been done in our nation's history to my knowledge.” Later, when she repeated her claim that the process is “unconstitutional” because “impeaching a president no longer president has never been done in this country,” Todd stopped her in her tracks.
“You keep saying that,” the MSNBC host said. “Congresswoman, that is not the fact of the case. He was president of the United States when he was impeached. He is an impeached president even if he is convicted. He was president when impeached.” Todd also reminded her that the U.S. Senate voted that the trial is constitutional with six Republicans joining the Democrats just this week.
“So know it’s your opinion, it is not,” the anchor continued. But now that it has been “deemed constitutional,” he asked, “What do you do?”
“Well, if prosecutors do believe that he incited an attack on the Capitol,” Mace replied. “there’s a criminal court where they can file charges in this instance, would be another option.”
Finally, Melvin played Mace a clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) arguing that Democrats are just as guilty as Trump for inciting violence—even though their mostly innocuous comments never resulted in insurrection. “That would seem to be ‘whataboutism’ personified,” Melvin said. “Your response now?”
“I have only seen ‘whataboutism’ on Twitter, so I don’t really understand what that means. I’ll have to Google it after the interview,” Mace admitted before going on to credit Graham with making some “valid points.”