Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross should step down if reports are true that he threatened to fire officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration if they didn't back up President Donald Trump's claims that Hurricane Dorian posed a threat to Alabama, Rep. Jim Himes said Tuesday.
"There's no gray area here," the Connecticut Democrat told CNN's "New Day."
"If he is threatening professionals if they contradict the lie of the president of the United States, he needs to resign flat-out."
The New York Times reported Sunday that Ross had threatened to fire top NOAA employees after the National Weather Service's Birmingham, Alabama, office contradicted Trump's claims. On Friday, the threat led to a statement from NOAA, disavowing the NWS statement and leading to accusations that the NWS was being used for political purposes.
"NOAA is made up of scientists who deal in facts," said Himes. "The Commerce Department, by the way, is the department charged with keeping and maintaining and promulgating all of the economic data, job growth, and all the stuff that businesses rely on. There is no room in any agency, but certainly not in that agency, for falsehood."
He added that the incident shows that Trump and the White House are using government agency officials to advance the president's political goals, and that type of thing is an impeachable offense.
"Over and over and over again we see this president using the federal government as his personal plaything to advance his interests and to enrich himself and his businesses," said Himes. "If Wilbur Ross threatened people for doing their job, he needs to resign and he needs to do it yesterday."
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