Tom Steyer is no fan of President Donald Trump.
In fact, he wants him impeached. And he wants you to help him.
And if you’ve caught the 60-second spot the billionaire, liberal activist has had plastered all over cable news for the last month or so pitching that very cause, then you’ve probably gotten that message loud and clear.
In a series of shifting images, Steyer, a hedge fund billionaire and maybe U.S. Senate candidate in California, lays out the bill of particulars.
Trump, he says, has “brought us to the brink of nuclear war; obstructed justice at the FBI; and in direct violation of the Constitution, he’s taken money from foreign governments and threatened to shut down news organizations that report the truth.
Then the camera cuts to Steyer, dressed simply in blue shirt sleeves, asking, “If that isn’t the case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become?”
He continues: “I’m Tom Steyer, and I’m a citizen, and like you I know it’s up to us to do something,” Steyer, dressed simply in blue shirt sleeves says in the spot. “And that’s why I’m funding this effort to raise our voices together and demand that elected officials take a stand on impeachment.
“A Republican Congress once impeached a president for far less,” Steyer says in an apparent reference to the 1998 impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. “Yet today, people in Congress and his own administration know that this president is a clear and present danger.”
So just who is this guy?
Well, as noted above, he’s a hedge fund billionaire, the Democratic Party’s biggest donor, and a maybe U.S. Senate candidate in California, as The Los Angeles Times reports.
He’s also putting his money where his mouth is, putting $20 million of his own money into a petition drive demanding that Democrats (who don’t have a majority in the House of Representatives, where any impeachment proceeding would start) put impeachment front and center this year, and make it a primary issue of the 2018 campaign.
Trump, as you might expect, didn’t take that well. The president has referred to Steyer as “wacky” and “totally unhinged,” on his favored medium – Twitter.
Public opinion is currently on Steyer’s side. An Oct. 31 Public Policy poll had support for impeachment at an all time high, with 49 percent in favor. But 41 percent of respondents also opposed such an action, the poll found.
Here’s Steyer on Bloomberg News further arguing the case for impeachment:
Why Tom Steyer Wants President Trump Impeached
As The Los Angeles Times notes, Steyer has already garnered 2 million signatures for his unusual effort, though some analysts believe he’s making the case for impeachment harder.
The skeptics include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who recently told the Times’s Doyle McManus that she’s not “making [impeachment] a priority. “If you’re going to go down the impeachment path, you have to know you can do it not in a partisan way.”
She added, “We have an investigation in the Justice Department that is seeking facts. We don’t want it to look political.”
If Steyer’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s already inserted himself into Pennsylvania politics.
In 2014, Steyer threw his support to then-candidate Tom Wolf, when he pledged to use $50 million of his own money, and $50 million raised from donors, to get Wolf into the Governor’s Mansion.
Steyer returned to Pennsylvania last summer as he kicked off an effort to mobilze younger voters in advance of the 2018 mid-term elections.
In that conversation, Steyer didn’t say how deeply he planned to immerse himself in next year’s gubernatorial campaign, which will see Democrat Wolf facing off against whomever emerges from a four-person Republican primary field next spring.
“What we’re going to do is, we are going to be issue-focused,” he told me at the time. “We’re going to be talking to people about issues and engagement. And then we’re going to let the races develop.”
As you might expect, Steyer’s activisim has earned him the enmity of many on the right, putting him alongside billionaire donor George Soros on conservatives’ “Least Favorite List.”
Steyer’s name is often mentioned through the same clenched teeth with which progressives spit out the names of the billionaire Koch Brothers, who are driving force in both policy formulation and fund-raising on the right.
And even if national Democrats are staying away, you can expect Steyer to keep at his efforts.
“You’re asking us not to tell the truth, not to do what’s right, because it doesn’t fit into the way political tactics are organized in Washington,” he said during an appearance on ABC, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Don’t we have to … do the right thing, not do a political calculation for what’s going to happen 14 months from now?”