Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that Democratic members of the chamber who are vying for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination will have to essentially suspend their campaigns and make any impeachment trial of President Donald Trump their priority.
“This has to come first. This is one of the most solemn decisions that anyone has to make,” Schumer told reporters at a Dec. 10 press conference.
“And I’ve told all members of my caucus that scheduling concerns are secondary to doing this the right way.”
Five senators are still running: Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
Democratic strategists say candidates who will be forced off the campaign trail to attend an expected Senate trial of the president will be put at a distinct disadvantage.
“It is likely to be a problem, because being on the ground in key states is critically important, as Hillary [Clinton] learned to her—and our—cost,” Defiance Strategies, LLC President Christian Hanley told The Epoch Times.
“But I don’t see how they could choose to skip an impeachment trial, both as a matter of constitutional duty and as a matter of politics,” Hanley added.
One recent entry into the 2020 Democratic presidential race, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, would be free to continue campaigning, giving him a distinct advantage. The same is true for South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) would also be free to continue campaigning after the House votes on articles of impeachment.
“The trial will have a severe negative impact on campaigns,” added Tom Schatz, president of conservative-leaning Citizens Against Government Waste, in a statement to the Epoch Times.
Current Senate rules say if the House votes to impeach a president, the chamber must receive the articles and begin impeachment proceedings no later than 1 p.m. on the following day, with the exception of Sundays.
During Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, the Senate was in session six days a week.