Beto O’Rourke called Tuesday for a constitutional amendment prohibiting a president from pardoning anyone tied to an investigation involving the president or his family members, a direct rebuke of President Donald Trump.
O’Rourke also pledged that if elected president, he would press Congress to make accepting help from a foreign power for personal profit or political gain a federal crime, while ensuring non-financial assistance from a foreign power in an election constitutes an emolument.
The proposal, obtained first by POLITICO, comes less than 24 hours after Trump complained about scrutiny he has received as a result of what he called the “phony emoluments clause.” Trump, during a Cabinet meeting, was defending his attempt to host next year’s G-7 summit at one of his family’s resorts in Miami, a decision he reversed over the weekend amid widespread criticism.
“You people with this phony emoluments clause,” Trump told reporters.
The emoluments clause bars presidents from profiting from foreign governments.
In addition to the controversy surrounding Trump’s one-time plan to hold the summit at his Trump National Doral Miami, the Republican president is facing an impeachment inquiry stemming from accusations that Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
O’Rourke is lagging far behind the Democratic Party’s top-tier contenders in the presidential primary, polling in low single digits. His campaign reminded supporters in a fundraising email Monday that he has not yet qualified for the November debate.
“In his farewell address, George Washington warned of the ‘insidious wiles’ of foreign powers and urged Americans ‘to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government,’” O’Rourke said in a prepared statement. “Congress should act swiftly to impeach and to remove President Trump from office in light of his illegal actions. But it is also time to pass additional reforms that heed Washington’s advice so that Trump — and every president who follows — will never be above the law, or able to welcome foreign interference in our democracy.”