Mahoning Valley Congressman Tim Ryan spent almost an hour Sunday night on CNN making the case of his presidential bid.
Ryan is an underdog in the crowded field for the Democratic nomination, which means he must find a way of standing out from the crowd.
The nine-term congressman from the 13th District, which includes most of Mahoning and Trumbull counties, succeeded in establishing himself as the champion of the nation’s working men and women who are not sharing in the current economic boom.
Ryan, a Howland resident, was articulate, forceful and knowledgeable when talking about old industrial regions such as the Valley that need national policies to transform their economies.
While Ryan’s poll numbers have been unimpressive, he has garnered enough support to qualify for the national Democratic debates that will take place this month and in July.
The congressman has a strong argument to make for being the voice of blue-collar workers seeing as how he has lived the Valley’s economic collapse with the end of big-steel production more than 30 year ago, and now is dealing with the idling of the General Motors Lordstown assembly plant.
Thousands of high-paying jobs have been lost as a result of GM discontinuing production of its top-selling Chevrolet Cruze compact car and its decision not to assign another product to the 53-year-old complex.
In talking about Republican President Donald Trump’s broken promises to the Valley, Ryan, a member of the powerful appropriations committee, made note of the billions of dollars Trump is paying farmers to make up for the loss in revenue from the ongoing trade war with China and other countries.
Ryan told the national audience that the president should pledge $1 billion to upgrade the Lordstown complex so GM can use it to build electric cars.
The Democratic candidate for president noted that Trump, a self-acclaimed billionaire real-estate developer from New York City who had never run for public office until 2016, had promised the people of the Valley he would rebuild the huge steel mills and spur employment in the auto industry.
Trump had said he would force the three major American automakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler, to close plants abroad and create jobs in the U.S. Their failure to do his bidding would result in financial punishment, he pledged.
However, while closing the Lordstown plant, GM began production of the re-engineered, redesigned iconic Chevrolet Blazer in Mexico.
In addition, there are reports that GM plans to build the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Buick Encore in South Korea.
SUPPORTS IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY
During his appearance on CNN, Ryan revealed that he has come around to support congressional impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who spent two years investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, said recently he had not exonerated Trump on the question of whether he had obstructed justice.
But Mueller added that charging the president with any crime was “not an option” due to Justice Department rules.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” the special counsel said.
Congressman Ryan said he had held back on making a decision on impeachment proceedings until he had an answer to this question: “If Donald Trump wasn’t president, if he was Tim Ryan … would you have prosecuted him? The answer I got a couple of days ago [from special prosecutor Robert Mueller] was yes, he would have. So I do believe we need to move forward with the impeachment process …”
Mueller did say in the exhaustive report of his investigation that Congress has the constitutional authority to look into obstruction-of-justice claims against the president.
Ryan is not alone in supporting impeachment proceedings against the president, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has not shown a willingness to proceed with such an extreme act on the part of Democrats.
Pelosi has rightly noted that most of the Republicans in Congress would not go along with the Democrats.
We agree with Pelosi that impeachment would become nothing more than a political partisan issue, which is why we believe that congressional hearings into Mueller’s obstruction of justice findings are justified.
Although the special counsel has said that Congress would find out nothing more about his investigation than what is contained in his report, we believe there is much to be gained by his answering questions in public sessions on Capitol Hill.