Former US congressman who presided over Clinton impeachment speaks at SIU

By Juniper Oxford, Staff Reporter

Former U.S. congressman Ray LaHood spoke at the Student Center on Monday about issues regarding both national and state politics. 

During the discussion, LaHood talked about the possible Trump impeachment, the belief in bipartisanship and Illinois’ place in the national political scene.

“Impeachment is a political decision,” LaHood said.

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LaHood presided over Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the United States House of Representatives. He also previously served as a republican in the House, and was Secretary of Transportation for the Obama White House administration. 

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich and current Speaker Nancy Pelosi both made political decisions in the timing of the impeachment, and the overall decision to formally impeach, LaHood said.

See more: (Pelosi announces house will begin formal inquiry into impeachment)

The possible Trump impeachment is a “complete waste of time,” Lahood said. He said the impeachment has always been a partisan and politically motivated idea.

The numbers, LaHood said, are not there for any conviction to be taking place in the United States Senate. 

“In a Republican Senate, when you need 68 votes for a conviction, it will not happen,” Lahood said. “Mitch McConnell will never, ever let it happen.” 

The parties have evolved in recent years, LaHood said. He said both the Democratic and Republican Parties were changed by the 2016 election.

“The Republican Party is not the Reagan party,” LaHood said. “It is the Trump party.” 

LaHood said he believes the change of the parties is an “ebb and flow,” and soon the parties will change again. 

See more: (SIU Campus Presidential Update: SIU professors weigh in on possible Trump impeachment)

Former Govs. Robert Blagojevich and Bruce Rauner did not pay attention to Illinois universities, LaHood said. He said they didn’t have a vision for public universities.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has a vision to restore Southern Illinois University and other public universities, LaHood said. He said he believes Pritzker does care about Illinois’ public universities. 

LaHood said he supported a proposition to have members of Congress spend 10 to 15 days in D.C. and 10 to 15 days in their own home districts as part of a cycle that repeats throughout their whole term. 

“I support Congressional term limits,” LaHood said. “I think if we have some for president, we surely can for Congress.” 

LaHood said 12 years in each chamber of Congress would be fair.

The United States is the envy of the world when it comes to our democratic process, Lahood said.

“The final thing I will say is we settle our disputes in America at the ballot box,” LaHood said. “That is the way that our country has been so successful, and countries have tried to replicate it all over the world.” 

Reporter Juniper Oxford can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter at @JuniperOxford.

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