State of Play Impeachment Edition: Rooney undecided, Southwest Floridians take to the streets

12-17-19 Impeachment rally NaplesPro-impeachment demonstrators in Naples yesterday.     (Photo: author)

Dec. 18, 2019 by David Silverberg

Today is Impeachment Day, and the US House of Representatives is expected to vote on the two articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump.

The guys with the votes

As of this writing Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.) remains officially undecided on his vote, perhaps the only such Republican. Yesterday, Dec. 17, he told NBC2’s Peter Busch that he was leaning toward a “no” vote. According to Busch’s twitter feed, Rooney wanted Democrats to wait for the courts to compel Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and others to testify about their direct communication with President Trump.

According to Busch, Rooney believes what President Trump did with Ukraine was wrong but is not sure if it rises to impeachment. He told Busch that he would spend the day researching and talking to experts but more than anything he wanted Democrats to slow the process.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee was an outspoken Trump defender during that committee’s hearings and can be expected to vote against impeachment. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) has been silent on impeachment but can be expected to vote the party line against it.

Impeachment demonstrations

12-17-19 Cindy Banyai Cape Coral impeachment rallyDemocratic congressional candidate Cindy Banyai calls for impeachment before a crowd outside Rep. Francis Rooney’s office in Cape Coral.            (Photo: Jacob Ogles)

While Diaz-Balart may be silent and Rooney undecided, Southwest Floridians took to the streets to make their preferences known.

In Cape Coral, a crowd estimated at over 300 appeared outside Rooney’s office in Cape Coral.

Democratic congressional candidate Cindy Banyai addressed the crowd, saying some Congress members need an ethics lesson, according to Jacob Ogles, who covered the event for Florida Politics. Banyai called for impeachment and removal.

Ogles estimated that there were also 50 pro-Trump demonstrators present, including Republican congressional candidates Dan Severson and William Figlesthaler.

Based on reporting by Dave Elias for NBC2, the pro and anti-impeachment demonstrators mixed together in Cape Coral, leading to considerable friction and jostling.

12-17-19 Dave Elias attempts to reportNBC-2’s Dave Elias reports amidst a raucous crowd in Cape Coral.

Further south, in Naples, perhaps 300 protesters appeared for a demonstration at the corner of Rt. 41 and Airport Pulling Rd., outside the Collier County government complex, to demonstrate for impeachment. The peaceful demonstration began at 5:30 pm and elicited considerable support from passing drivers. It was organized by Collier Freedom organization, spearheaded by activist Cindy Nayer.

12-17-19 Trumper demo in Naples
The small number of  pro-Trump demonstrators in Naples.

Only three Trumpers appeared in the crowd and the interaction was peaceful, friendly and good-natured. Eventually, they left. About a half hour after the main demonstration began, a handful of pro-Trump demonstrators appeared on the other side of Airport Pulling Rd.

Police presence was heavy. The event was covered by NBC2 and WINK-TV. There is no mention of it in the Naples Daily News.

Another candidate in the 19th?

12-18-19 Trae Zipperer
Trae Zipperer

Yet another candidate may jump into the Republican primary for Rooney’s seat. He’s
Trae Zipperer, a real estate broker who says on his Twitter feed: “I’m leading the charge to clean every veteran headstone in America by Memorial Day 2020. Every veteran headstone should look like it belongs in Arlington.”

Although reportedly considering a run, Zipperer has not yet filed his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

Liberty lives in light

©2019 by David Silverberg


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