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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 2 — A mob of people swarmed the Grand Traverse Pie Co. in East Lansing today to see Ingham County’s freshman congresswoman, Elissa Slotkin, as the chaos of Washington came home.
Slotkin, a moderate Democrat with national security expertise, had been a holdout amid progressive cries to impeach the president, but after news broke that Donald Trump had asked the president of Ukraine to investigative former vice president Joseph Biden, she said she had to act.
“At a certain point, you can’t do things based on the political consequences. You have to do what’s right,” Slotkin said.
Slotkin pointed specifically to the charges in the new impeachment inquiry and said if Trump and his people came clean with an explanation, she would keep an open mind. But as she saw it, the president asked for dirt on a political opponent to interfere with next year’s election.
“He admitted it. His lawyer admitted it. That can’t be OK,” she said. “Clearly our president is going through a very rough time, and it is a somber time.”
There wasn’t an empty spot in the parking lot in all of Brookfield Plaza. The crowd was so thick, the East Lansing Police called the fire marshal, forcing Slotkin to call off the townhall after just 20 minutes and ask her constituents to leave. She hung around to take questions with the media.
It was a mostly older, liberal crowd in the Democratic heart of Slotkin’s district in East Lansing, but a handful of Trump supporters crowded the exits with signs that declared, “He won, get over it!” and “Impeach Slotkin.” The Trump backers tried to keep others from hearing the congresswoman with shouts of “Four more years! Trump! Trump! Trump!”
She’ll face tougher audiences as she moves east through the congressional district in the coming days, including conservative Livingston County and the Republican-leaning suburbs of north Oakland County.
“I have people who keep asking me whether this is the end of my political career, that ‘This is the short-lived Elissa Sloktin show.’” she said. “I did this because it was the right thing to do.”
Despite her new position near the center of the impeachment crisis, Slotkin said she wished she could keep focused on protecting the water supply and lowering prescription drug costs, and even credited Trump for supporting progressive policies, like tasking Medicare with negotiating pharmaceutical costs.
“That’s right. That’s exactly what I believe,” she said.
Alice Florida beamed and nodded as her congresswoman spoke. “She has handled herself very well. She’s sincere. She’s smart. She knows how to talk to people.”
As the crowd dispersed, customer Gregg LaDurantaye, dressed in an Aussie-style hat, an orange T-shirt and shorts despite the cool, rainy weather, seemed unaware that his congresswoman was at the pie and coffee shop. He saw the signs and asked aloud, “Impeach Slotkin?? What, is she not kissing Trump’s ass enough?”
LaDurantaye shouted at the Trumpites: “She’s doing the right thing. She’s doing what her constituents want her to do.”