'Find The Courage': Former GOP Congressman Who Voted to Impeach Clinton Urges Republicans to Challenge Trump

A former Republican congressman who voted to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1998 told Fox News Saturday that the current claims against Donald Trump are far more damning.

In conversation with Neil Cavuto, host of Cavuto Live, Bob Inglis, a former congressman from South Carolina, said today's Republicans need to "find the courage" to tell Trump and his base supporters the truth about his "embarrassing" alleged misdeeds. Though he warned that House Democrats may be making a mistake by pursuing impeachment against Trump, Inglis reminded viewers that "one way or another" Trump will leave office some day. He challenged Republicans to question "what legacy" their party is leaving.

Inglis, who many critics say lost his congressional seat in 2010 for speaking out on climate change, acknowledged that Clinton "did perjure himself" and lie under oath in the '90s. But the former South Carolina lawmaker said the allegations regarding Trump's Ukraine and China alleged quid pro quo communications are much more pertinent to the functioning of the executive branch.

"It is not OK for the president of the United States to hold up support for a country that is at war with Russia in order to achieve, if that can be proven, an advantage in an American political race," Inglis said.

"Elected republicans need to find the courage to speak truth to the president, to his supporters and to our Republican base," he added.

Cavuto cautioned Inglis about the "wrath of the president" and there being "a lot of hell to pay" for criticizing Trump. But Inglis reiterated that Republicans need to always "speak truth to the president and his base" of support. He pondered aloud if one day the GOP will understand they "went along with something quite embarrassing."

"We've got to have the historical perspective that presidents come and go...former President George W. Bush sort of took interventionism with him when he left the stage...Donald Trump is going to leave office, one way or another, whether he is impeached or he loses in 2020 or that he leaves four years later, but he's going to leave office, the question is, what legacy does that leave for the Republican Party?"

Inglis, who helped draft the articles of impeachment against Clinton in 1998, reflected on his regrets during his tenure as a congressman from 1993 to 1999. He went on to serve again from 2005 until 2011.

"I think in retrospect it was a mistake to impeach Bill Clinton because the substance of the matter really wasn't all that essential to the nation," Inglis continued. "I think we [House Republicans] were sort of blinded by our dislike of President Clinton, in retrospect I wish we hadn't done it, yes."

The former GOP congressman then compared the allegations against Trump versus Clinton.

"The allegations against President Trump are really far more serious, they involve abuse of power, abuse of the office. So it's a much more serious inquiry than what we were dealing with I think we sort of spun out perjury and obstruction of justice and those were a little bit hard counts to make, two failed. I voted for all four counts.

"In retrospect, I think it really didn't go to the heart of the operation of the United States. However, what we're dealing here with President Trump does go to the heart of American foreign policy and to the heart of the office."

Trump at Young Black Leadership Summit
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 04: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses an event for the Young Black Leadership Summit in the East Room of the White House October 04, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Cavuto followed up on his warning that Inglis may catch flack from Trump or his supporters for criticizing the president on Fox News. He concluded with an ominous quip: "I suspect you'll be getting some tweets, who knows?"

Inglis was almost immediately attacked by supporters of the president on social media following his cable news appearance. One Twitter user replied to his most recent post, "Saw you on@TeamCavuto misrepresenting the Ukraine call & I knew it....another never Trump The base supports@realDonaldTrump 100%! Never Trumpers like you inspire me to donate even more to re-elect him," a Maryland woman tweeted Saturday morning.