WASHINGTON — Julián Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development and a 2020 presidential candidate, doubled down on his support for impeaching President Donald Trump Tuesday, arguing that Democrats should be able to “walk and chew gum at the same time.”
His comments were made on Tuesday morning on BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM, days after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was made public and as Democrats in the House have grappled with calls for impeachment.
“[Congress is] going to have their congressional hearings and subpoena Bob Mueller, do more inquiry, but at the end of the day, I think the question you’re going to get to is: This president tried to obstruct justice, and should he be held accountable or not? And I believe that he should be held accountable,” Castro said.
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Democratic leadership in the House have downplayed impeachment talk and argued that Congress should focus on continuing to investigate Trump instead. Castro said Tuesday that Democrats can both press the case for impeachment and lay out a positive vision for America as the 2020 election approaches.
“There’s a difference of opinion, I think, among some of the candidates. And certainly up in Congress, I know that they’re kind of tying themselves up in knots right now about what they should do,” Castro said. “But to me it’s clear that you have a president that has tried to break the law, and he’s done it in ways that we haven’t seen in a very long time.”
Castro's comments also came the morning after House Democrats held a conference call, in which Pelosi reportedly rejected calls to begin impeachment proceedings. Pelosi has previously said she is not for pursuing impeachment, and this week told House Democrats in a "dear colleague" letter that “the facts regarding holding the President accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.”
Castro was also asked about the state of his campaign and whether he can outlast higher-profile candidates in the race. Specifically, he was asked about Beto O’Rourke, another Democratic presidential candidate from Texas focused on the border, who has received more attention following his race against Sen. Ted Cruz last year.
“This is going to sound odd, but this is a part of presidential campaigns is that, right now, the expectations for me are lower, right? For some people, they’re very high expectations,” Castro said, avoiding talking about O’Rourke specifically. “I believe that I’m going to be able to meet and then exceed the expectations for me and create stronger and stronger support while others are not able to meet their expectations, so in the dynamic of these presidential campaigns, they lose support.”
Castro predicted that later this year or early next year, “you’ll see those lines cross.”