Trump: Republicans must ‘get tougher’ against impeachment inquiry

US President Donald Trump on Monday exhorted fellow Republicans to get tougher and fight for him, saying the Democratic-led US House of Representatives wants to impeach him “as quick as possible” over his request that Ukraine investigate a political rival.

Trump made his comments during a White House Cabinet meeting as Democrats sought to build public support for their fast-moving impeachment inquiry and the administration pressed its efforts to stonewall a probe that threatens his presidency.

Few Republican politicians have shown an inclination to remove Trump from office. But Trump has come under sharp criticism from Republican Senator Mitt Romney. And other Republicans have expressed misgivings about Trump policies, including criticism by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham of his withdrawal of United States troops in northeastern Syria, exposing US-allied Kurdish fighters to a Turkish cross-border offensive.

Approval of articles of impeachment in the House would prompt a trial in the Republican-led Senate on whether to remove Trump from office. Trump is seeking re-election next year.

Asked if it is a foregone conclusion that House Democrats will vote to impeach him, Trump said that “they’re not going to beat me in the election, so, of course, they want to impeach”.

“They want to impeach. And they want to do it as quick as possible. And that’s pretty much the story,” Trump added.

“The Republicans have to get tougher and fight. We have some that are great fighters, but they have to get tougher and fight, because the Democrats are trying to hurt the Republican Party before the election,” Trump said.

Trump said the Democrats are “vicious and they stick together”.

“They don’t have Mitt Romney in their midst. They don’t have people like that. They stick together,” Trump added.

In an interview aired with “Axios on HBO”, Romney denounced Trump’s requests to Ukraine and China to investigate Biden, questioned Trump’s character, criticised his decision to “abandon” Kurdish allies in the Syria war and deplored his hush-money payment to an adult film star. Romney was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.

Trump, a wealthy real estate developer, also said serving as president has personally cost him two to five billion dollars. He has not provided any evidence. Trump also expressed annoyance at having to reverse his decision to stage the G7 summit in June at his Trump National Doral golf resort in the Miami area. His plan to host the international gathering at a business he owns was criticised by Democrats and Republicans who said it gave the impression he was profiting from being president.