Rep. Trent Franks on Thursday tried to back away from his earlier suggestion that President Barack Obama should be impeached.
The Arizona Republican said in an interview with ThinkProgress last weekend that he would “absolutely” support impeaching Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Franks’ comments sparked a sharp reaction from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), a fierce opponent of DOMA, who in a statement Wednesday night said he was “shocked” by Franks’ “reckless call to impeach President Obama.”
In a statement issued Thursday, however, Franks tried to clarify his remarks.
“The sole purpose of my response to a distorted question was to emphasize that Congress should do everything within its power to ensure the President fulfills his Constitutional duty to abide by and enforce all laws equally, rather than picking and choosing only those laws that happen to align with his ideology,” Franks said. “For President Obama to attempt to appoint himself as the sole arbiter of whether a law is or isn’t constitutional amounts to an abrogation of presidential duty and an overt power grab on the part of this administration.”
Obama announced last week that DOMA, a 1998 law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional; he instructed the Justice Department to stop defending it in court. The announcement was a major shift in Obama’s stance on the issue, and drew criticism from Republican lawmakers. In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the announcement “outrageous” and that he was “looking at our options, what’s available to us to intervene.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.