The only New York City member of Congress who hasn't backed the impeachment inquiry into President Trump says he can't be bullied into falling in line behind more than 200 other Democrats.
Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) said Thursday that the whistleblower complaint detailing how Trump tied to extort the Ukrainian president into influencing the 2020 election was “deeply alarming” — but still refused to support the inquiry launched earlier this week.
“I will not operate on any false timeline when our national security is at stake,” Rose said, noting he takes his congressional oath as seriously as he took his duties in the Army. “My constituents—and our country—deserve Members of Congress who will review the facts and ensure the American people are fully informed. Those who would celebrate this moment or dismiss these serious allegations simply because it’s a Republican President should recognize that mindset is why the American people are disgusted with our politics.”
Rose's reluctance to support the formal impeachment inquiry announced earlier this week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outraged some of the same liberal constituents who helped him oust the district's longtime Republican rep last year.
"It's insane, it's ludicrous — especially when people of color came out hard for Rose," said Cynthia Davis, president of the Staten Island chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network. "I don't know why he would not support getting this criminal out of office."
The impeachment inquiry launched on Tuesday centers on new allegations that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former VP and current presidential candidate Joe Biden and his family . More than half the 435 members of the House now support the inquiry.
But Rose said the story was "far from over" and believes in a slow, deliberative process to bring all the facts to light.
"That's the only way to uphold the Constitution without tearing this country apart," he said. "Under no circumstances will I allow politics to influence my decision regarding this matter."
Rose was elected to the 11th Congressional District in 2018 as part of a wave of candidates who helped flip the House Democrat during the midterms. He defeated longtime Staten Island pol Dan Donovan with 52% of the vote.
But Rose now finds himself between the moderates and liberals who supported him.
"It's a total slap int he face to turn his back and disregard everything this man has done," Davis said.
Julienne Verdi, of the nonpartisan social justice advocacy group Move Forward Staten Island, said she appreciated Rose's thoughtfulness on the issue of impeachment but that the latest scandal warrants a formal inquiry.
"We think the allegations against the president are so serious that they require an equally serious response," Verdi said, noting she thought Rose was "weighing the political implications."
"We're not naive to the political realities on Staten Island or the tough spot the congressman is in," Verdi said. "We think Congressman Rose needs to lead with integrity."
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who is running as a Republican against Rose for the congressional seat, said he “changes his tune every day of the week.”
“He is trying to satisfy all sides on this and every other controversial issue and the people in the district have caught on to his scam,” Malliotakis said.
Natalie DeVito, a disabled activist and Staten Island Democrat, said Rose’s waffling is why her husband ran against him in the congressional primary.
"I do believe it's a strategy and not his actual moral compass," DeVito said. "By trying to please everyone he's pleasing no one."
Rose scheduled a town hall on Staten Island for next week but the topic is commuting and tolls.