Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera took to Twitter late Wednesday, fired up by growing talk of impeachment and a rare public statement from special counsel Robert Mueller, offering an apparent threat to those attempting to impeach the president.
The confusing tweet came after hours of online musings about the special counsel’s investigation and the specter of impeachment hanging over the president that included a metaphorical poker game, the repeatedly discredited claim that obstruction of justice cannot occur without an underlying crime, and a president with “a right to be pissed.”
But none of the preceding tweets painted an image as vivid as the one sent just after 10 p.m. ET.
“Fair Warning, as I did with Bill Clinton in 1997-8,” Rivera wrote, “I tonight announce that if you want to impeach this president on these facts you’ll have to come through me.”
Fair Warning, as I did with Bill Clinton in 1997-8, I tonight announce that if you want to impeach this president on these facts you'll have to come through me.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) May 30, 2019
“Ask Ken Starr how that felt,” Rivera added in a subsequent tweet, invoking the independent counsel who led the inquiry into the Clinton administration that ultimately resulted in the former president’s impeachment.
Rivera was a frequent television defender of Clinton during the impeachment saga (a fact that led to tension between Rivera and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly when Rivera first joined the network in 2001), but the tough-talking tone of Rivera’s tweets is still bizarre.
The word choice invokes an image of a late-1990s schoolyard scrap between the mustachioed newsman and the independent counsel — though it’s important to note that no evidence exists to suggest a fistfight ever occurred between Rivera and Starr.
Somewhat predictably, Rivera’s over-the-top dramatic impeachment comments garnered the type of ridicule that has frequently found the iconic anchor and commentator throughout his long career.
Many correctly noted that the impeachment process, as outlined in the Constitution, includes both the House and the Senate but does not include a requirement to appease Rivera before holding a president accountable.
This is going to come as a big surprise to Madison and Hamilton… https://t.co/xVXlWRpj6p
— Jeff Greenfield (@greenfield64) May 30, 2019
But it wouldn’t be a Geraldo Rivera moment without reference to the infamous “Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults” fiasco when a much-hyped two-hour broadcast ended with an empty vault and a befuddled Rivera on live TV.
Why the Constitution includes a map to Al Capone's vault. https://t.co/h4Dy6kqfcs
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) May 30, 2019
First, we have go through Al Capone's vault.
Then you. https://t.co/b4nX2Ae2P5
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) May 30, 2019
To some, the only appropriate reaction was to laugh:
You're a global punchline. https://t.co/399KNtP5EG
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) May 30, 2019
I've been laughing for several minutes, and I can't seem to stop. I literally have tears coming out my eyes. https://t.co/iEvTvyziLO
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) May 30, 2019
Of course, there’s still one big problem with the bluster behind the idea that, like in 1998, critics of the president will have to go through Geraldo to impeach the president — Bill Clinton was still impeached.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.