On Day 1, televised impeachment inquiry leaves Delaware divided

DOVER — Plenty of Delawareans have strong opinions about the ongoing impeachment inquiry hearing against President Trump, but Wednesday seems to have been business as usual for most downstaters.

Respondents to a question on the Delaware State News’ Facebook page asking if people were watching the hearing mostly defended the president, with many calling the impeachment process farcical and politically motivated.

A few people expressed confidence the hearings would expose unlawful activity on the part of the president for his Ukraine policy.
At mid-afternoon in Dover, Fraizer’s Restaurant & Bar shift manager Shelby Cohee had received no requests to switch TV channels to the ongoing proceedings in Washington: “If anything, we get requests for sports channels, but nobody has asked (to watch the impeachment hearings) since I’ve been here.”

There was no talk of Ukraine or the White House at McGlynns Pub & Restaurant either, with most screens showing a muted breakdown of the upcoming Steelers-Browns game as classic rock music provided background noise around 12:45 p.m.

At Grotto Pizza, there’d been no asks for anything other than sports, manager Chris Barbour said.
“That’s what we pretty much always stick to anyway because it’s safer for the kids,” he said.

The Greene Turtle staff occasionally field requests for non-sports viewing, but that wasn’t the case Wednesday. Nobody was debating Republicans, Democrats or impeachment inside Dover’s Buffalo Wild Wings either, manager Holly Stevens said.

“We don’t really play anything other than sports,” she said. “As far as I know, nobody has brought up” impeachment.
Delaware’s lone member in the House of Representatives, Lisa Blunt Rochester, praised the House Intelligence Committee’s “thoughtful, methodical, and fair approach to these proceedings.”

“This is not a process that we enter into lightly or with any sense of joy — rather, this is a process necessitated by the facts and with deference to our Democracy,” Rep. Blunt Rochester, a Democrat, said in a statement. “I’m confident that the House and the American people will continue to follow where those facts lead.”

Fellow Democrat Sen. Chris Coons is hopeful the public nature of the hearings will allow Americans to hear from key officials and others directly. He’s also hoping Republican members of Congress keep an open mind as the process unfolds. While some have privately expressed concerns about the president’s actions, Sen. Coons said, most have simply avoided talking about the subject.

As for the feedback he’s getting from Delaware, it’s about 2:1 in favor of impeachment — with a “steady drumbeat” of phone calls and emails urging him to focus on other issues, he noted.

“My role is to keep an open mind,” he said. “If there’s any evidence that clears the president … I’m open to that but frankly, so far what I’ve heard reported in the press and seen clips of the testimony strongly suggests President Trump engaged in inappropriate foreign policy in regard to Ukraine.”

While the exact timeline remains murky, it’s clear several months or more could remain in the process, with House approval of impeachment necessitating a Senate vote.

“The American people deserve the truth, and, with these hearings, my hope is that we can get to the truth – whatever that may be,” Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat, said in a statement.

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