Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) on Sunday shrugged off President Donald Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, chalking up the president’s actions as “the blunt talk of a Manhattan businessman.”
McClintock, who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump was “entirely within his constitutional authority” to act as he did during his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which has become the focus on the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
“Is there anything the president did involving Ukraine that is wrong or that concerns you in any way?” host Martha Raddatz asked McClintock.
“Well, he didn’t use the delicate language of diplomacy in that conversation, that’s true,” the congressman responded. “He also doesn’t use the smarmy talk of politicians.”
He continued: “What you hear from Donald J. Trump is the blunt talk of a Manhattan businessman. He says what he means, he means what he says. That’s the only thing that’s remarkable by that conversation.”
Several current and former State Department officials publicly testified last month that they were concerned about Trump’s apparent attempt to use U.S. military aid as leverage in an attempt to get Ukraine to commit to investigating Biden.
The impeachment inquiry will this week move from the House Intelligence Committee to the House Judiciary Committee, which is expected to draft articles of impeachment in the coming weeks.
Joe Walsh, a former Illinois congressman and one of Trump’s 2020 primary challengers, bashed McClintock’s assessment.
“So because he talks like a ‘Manhattan businessman’ it’s okay for him to tell a foreign government to sabotage our elections?” Walsh wrote. “It’s okay for him to use the powers of his office for personal gain? Come on [McClintock], you’re better than this my friend.”