Halloween is a time of light-spirited tomfoolery, but on Thursday on Capitol Hill, one spooky trick went a little further than intended. This past September, Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, initiated an impeachment inquiry in response to emerging information about the president withholding aid from Ukraine in order to serve his own private interests. Now, a little over a month into the proceedings, Pelosi has faced harsh criticism from those opposed to the inquiry, predominantly the president and Republicans, who demanded that she hold a vote in the House of Representatives before the inquiry can proceed. On Thursday, the House voted 232-196 in favor of an impeachment inquiry. The vote was largely divided along party lines with all but two Democrats voting in favor. No Republicans voted with the majority.
With such a great disparity between the two parties, it’s easy to see why tensions would be high, but a little prank on Thursday brought even more excitement to the already fascinating spectacle. The House Republican campaign arm (HRCA) left cardboard moving boxes topped with festive bows outside the offices of over ten Democratic lawmakers. They were empty and labeled with the name of the sender, the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee), the recipient and the message “Get Packing!” implying the recipients were to use the box to move out of their office. The purpose of this little stunt was to signal to House Dems, specifically those in conservative-leaning districts, that they were going to be voted out of office in the upcoming elections due to their actions in the impeachment vote.
While the intention may have been harmless, it did not come off that way. The boxes, at least 10 in total, had to be investigated by the Capitol Police. One might say that’s too far and that these are clearly just a part of a prank; however, not too long ago several lawmakers and journalists were sent pipe bombs. With this in mind, one can never be too careful, which is why great precaution was taken upon the discovery of the boxes. House Democrats critiqued the joke as a serious waste of time for Capitol Police while still thanking them for their service, and Republicans responded to say that it was merely a joke. This incident is among a string of supposed jokes from the HRCA this year, the New York Times reports. Another happened earlier this year when a box of Kleenex tied to balloons was sent to the Democratic National Headquarters after the House Democrat campaign arm resigned.
On one hand, people say that House Democrats should toughen up and not let such a petty joke get to them. Conversely, others hold to the belief these pranks indicate a serious lack of professionalism in a workplace that creates and defines law. Citizens remain divided on whether these events showcase a lack of reverence for the institution that creates the guiding principles for our country. Some might suggest that it’s time to vote out those who are taking their positions for granted and replace them with people who will work to create change and collaborate across the aisle rather than using childish tactics to instill fear.