If you were a billionaire, how would you spend all that money? Tom Steyer has decided to use millions to try to impeach fellow billionaire President Donald Trump.
Steyer brought his 30-city tour of town hall meetings to Salt Lake City on Friday — as he also continues nationwide TV ads and donating to groups that offer legal aid to immigrants whose families were separated.
He laughs when asked why a billionaire would spend his time pushing to impeach the president.
“The same reason that millions of other Americans are,” he said. “We are standing up for the Constitution, our democracy and the American people.”
Steyer — who became a billionaire by running the Farallon Capital Management hedge fund in San Francisco — calls Trump “a president who breaks the law daily and has a disrespect for the Constitution and the rule of law. That attitude shows up throughout his administration, throughout the choices he makes.”
He especially bristles about how Trump has handled immigration.
Steyer says the president is using “separation of children from their parents — basically putting kids in interment camps — as a way of terrorizing their parents to get them to withdraw their requests for asylum.”
He said that “is entirely consistent with a president who doesn’t believe in the rule of law. In fact, he thought these people should be removed from the country without judges and without any sort of procedure.”
He spoke with The Salt Lake Tribune in advance of a town hall meeting he scheduled for Friday evening at the Falls Event Center at Trolley Square — part of a pledged $40 million effort to seek to oust Trump through his Need to Impeach group.
That organization — which Steyer launched in October — has gathered more than 5.4 million signatures in an online petition on its website. Most came in response to TV ads it ran featuring Steyer. (Fox News pulled one of those ads not long after Trump tweeted his displeasure).
“It’s a long educational process” to build support to remove a president, Steyer said. He said he is using town hall meetings because “we felt that was the most democratic, participatory way to have a conversation with America.”
Steyer said he believes “Washington elites” think it is not time to talk about impeachment because it could divide their parties before midterm congressional elections.
Now two-thirds of the way through his 30-city tour, Steyer said, “What we see everywhere is people motivated by patriotism, worried about democracy, and worried about the country and the rule of law — wanting to make sure they do whatever it takes to ensure the country and the values they grew up with are safe.”
Steyer has invited constitutional scholars to weigh in about whether legal standards have been met to impeach Trump, and has posted that online. He argues that has occurred — says impeachable offenses most easy to prove are obstruction of justice and receiving non-allowed payments or favors from foreign governments.