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Freshman Democratic Rep. Max Rose came out in support of the House’s impeachment inquiry Wednesday at a Staten Island town hall meeting packed with constituents — ending his holdout.
After assailing Republicans and Democrats for politicizing impeachment, Rose told the crowd at the Jewish Community Center in Seaview that Americans deserve to know whether President Donald Trump used the power of his office to lean on a foreign ally to help with his reelection.
“While the president of the United States may be willing to violate the Constitution to get reelected, I will not,” Rose said in opening remarks.
“I will not shirk my duty, I will not violate my oath. I will support and I will defend the United States Constitution and I intend to fully support this impeachment inquiry.”
He received a round of raucous applause.
Before Wednesday night, Rose, who took out the city’s last Republican congressman in an upset last November, was the local delegation’s lone impeachment holdout.
The 31-year-old Army veteran’s announcement came six days after leaders of grassroots groups who’d campaigned heavily for him sounded off to the THE CITY, calling Rose’s lack of support for the inquiry infuriating and inexplicable.
In the midst of the party unrest emerged Richard-Oliver Marius, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and one of hundreds of volunteers who door knocked for Rose last year. Marius announced plans this week to challenge Rose in next year’s primary — in part, because of the lawmaker’s initial impeachment inquiry stance.
District Went for Trump in 2016
Rose told reporters at the town hall that he looks forward to the challenge.
“I cannot tell you how happy I am that he’s doing so. I’m going to do everything legally available to me to make sure Richard gets on the ballot, so we can truly settle this” said Rose. “His campaign or anything to that effect has nothing to do with” the impeachment inquiry issue.
Rose, who represents Staten Island and a chunk of southern Brooklyn, previously had repeatedly refused to say whether he supports the House’s impeachment inquiry. His district went for Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
A day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry, Rose put out a carefully worded statement after more details began to emerge that Trump was pressuring Ukraine and withholding military aid for political gain.
“This is a serious crisis, all options must be on the table, and it’s time Republicans are as interested in the truth as the American people,” he said — while also urging restraint and blamed both major parties for politicizing the impeachment process.
Two days later, Rose called the details from the whistleblower’s report “deeply alarming” — but, again resisted calls for impeachment, adding that he “will not operate on any false timeline.”
In early September, Rose wrote an op-ed in his hometown newspaper saying he would not support impeachment. Republicans on Staten Island viewed his statements as an attempt to switch sides.
Julienne Verdi, who heads Move Forward Staten Island, said she was pleased to see Rose come around on the impeachment inquiry.
“[We] applaud the Congressman’s decision,” said Verdi, whose group was previously considering a “call to action“ when Rose was still a holdout. “By supporting the impeachment inquiry, Congressman Rose has reaffirmed his willingness to listen and respond to the concerns of the people of New York’s 11th Congressional District.”
‘A Tales of Two Maxes’
With Rose’s switch, 226 members of the House of Representatives now support the impeachment inquiry, which is already well underway.
Staten Island GOP Chairman Brendan Lantry, who sat in the back of the JCC as Rose made his announcement, told THE CITY Republicans “will remind voters of that comment and many other comments where we see a tale of two Maxes.”
Rose’s expected GOP rival criticized him last week for not having a harder anti-impeachment stance.
“Once again Max Rose is speaking out of both sides of his mouth and not really disclosing to people in the district where he really stands,” Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis told THE CITY last Thursday. She is running for the Republican nomination for the congressional seat.
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