Former Republican Chairman of Ethics Committee Blasts GOP Trump Defenders: 'My Nose is Not a Heat Seeking Missile for the President's Backside'

The former Chairman of House Ethics Committee questioned why more Republicans are not standing up to President Donald Trump and said that his "nose is not a heat seeking missile for the president's backside" while sparring with another former Congressman on Wednesday.

Speaking on CNN's New Day, former Republican representative Charlie Dent scoffed at the suggestion that Trump had not acted inappropriately while debating former Republican representative Sean Duffy.

Dent, who served Pennsylvania, said during the segment that the quid pro quo was stark and questioned why Republicans are not challenging the president.

"The Ukrainians have to know that Donald Trump is taking something away from them to have a quid pro quo," Duffy who served Wisconsin, said during the disagreement.

"My nose is not a heat seeking missile for the president's backside," Dent shot back. "People have to stand up and say and talk clearly to the American people. This is wrong. I mean you cannot use your official resources--official resources of the government--to investigate your political opponent, even without the quid pro quo. I mean I was the chairman of the ethics committee. If a member of Congress had done anything like this, they would have been investigated, they would have been referred to the Department of Justice."

The debate between the two former representatives follows what has been described as a monumental testimony on Capitol Hill. The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, William Taylor, reportedly told impeachment investigators on Tuesday that Trump directly linked aid to Ukraine and his demand that the country investigate Trump's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Taylor's allegations relate to the heart of the impeachment inquiry declared by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month after The Washington Post reported on a whistleblower complaint that alleged Trump had made a "promise" while speaking with a foreign leader.

Taylor was the latest of a string of high-profile figures to testify to speak with House Democrats investigating whether Trump withheld $400 million in security assistance from Ukraine unless the country conducted an investigation that could politically benefit Trump.

The Trump administration has sought to depict the Democrats' inquiry as part of a broader and long-running effort to undo the results of the 2016 election. For weeks, Trump and his supporters have insisted that the impeachment inquiry amounts to a witch hunt and sought to draw attention to alleged, but unsubstantiated, misconduct by Biden while he served in office.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney complicated Republicans' efforts to discredit the Democrats' investigations last week, when he appeared to admit what critics have alleged: that Trump linked aid to Ukraine with an investigation that would benefit him personally. Mulvaney later attempted to walk back the comments.

Still, more Republicans have vocally expressed more concern about Trump's abrupt foreign policy shift in Syria and his decision to withdraw troops from the country than the alleged misconduct at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

Dent
Pennsylvania Representative Charlie Dent speaks onstage during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival on September 23, 2017, in New York City. Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen