Herman Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and 2012 Republican candidate for the presidency, expressed his disappointment that President Barack Obama would not be impeached during a conference call with reporters Tuesday night.
“It would be a great thing to do,” Cain said when asked about impeaching the president, “but because the Senate is controlled by Democrats we would never be able to get the Senate first to take up that action, because they simply don’t care what the American public thinks. They would protect him and they wouldn’t even bring it up.”
Cain’s understanding of impeachment, however, is confused.
The Senate does not lead the impeachment process — they are not the “first to take up that action,” as Cain said. The House of Representatives has the constitutional right to draw up articles of impeachment and vote on them, therefore technically impeaching the president. The Senate then can try the president, and remove him from office if found guilty. For example, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House, but acquitted by the Senate.
Cain pointed to the Obama administration’s plan to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that bans states from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, as an impeachable offense. Obama has said that DOMA is unconstitutional.
In the past, Cain has singled out Obama’s position on DOMA, but has never explicitly said he would like to see the president impeached for it.
“I think it is a breach of presidential duty bordering on treason,” Cain told the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative group against same-sex marriage. “The oath of office by the president says that he will protect, observe, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, which means all of its subsequent laws. The fact that he says that he has asked the Department of Justice not to enforce it, to me, is a breach duty as President of the United States.”
The U.S. Constitution defines treason as an impeachable offense.
Cain also cited Obama’s health care legislation overhaul as unconstitutional.
“There are a number of things where a case could be made in order to impeach him, but because Republicans do not control the United States Senate, they would never allow it to get off the ground,” Cain said.