The town hall was supposed to be about transportation issues on Staten Island — and it was, mostly — but Congressman Max Rose knew what many people in the room came to hear.

“I want to quickly speak on this so we can spend the evening talking about how to end our commuting nightmare,” Rose told the room at the JCC of Staten Island. Then, the first-term member of Congress proceeded to endorse the impeachment inquiry.

“I have opposed a rush to judgment to date, because the American people deserve to know that when this country is in crisis, we’re going to react responsibly and deliberately, especially when it involves impeachment,” Rose said. “But instead of allaying our concerns, the president and his administration have poured gasoline on the fire.”

Until Wednesday, Rose was one of 12 Democrats who hadn’t endorsed an impeachment inquiry. He declined to sign a September 23rd op-ed penned by other first-term members of Congress who are veterans of the military or intelligence and defense agencies.

He said what pushed him over the edge was watching President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani engage in stonewalling and obfuscation.

“So while the president of the United States may be willing to violate the constitution to get reelected, I will not,” Rose said, as applause broke out in the room.

The congressman’s previous statement, which urged a “deliberate and responsible” approach but fell short of endorsing an inquiry, drew criticism by progressive activists who had worked to get him elected in 2018. But within minutes of his announcement, the other end of the pendulum swung back. Twitter lit up with attacks from his Republican challengers in 2020.

In fact, while Rose was still waffling last week, the GOP put out an attack ad claiming he supports “endless investigations,” which President Trump retweeted.

The 150-or-so attendees at Wednesday night’s town hall were mostly pleased to hear Rose take a strong stance in joining the vast majority of House Democrats.

Mara Bianco, who lives in Annadale, told Gothamist it felt like Rose was really listening to his constituents. And, she said, his status as a veteran goes a long way in this district.

“I think people really respect the fact that he’s a Purple Heart, Bronze Star veteran. He’s not some schnook from the street,” said Bianco. “He really knows what patriotism is about, and I’m just hoping that can bring us closer.”

Many people said they appreciated the congressman’s seemingly thoughtful approach to impeachment and liked that he didn’t rush to judgment. But one constituent said she felt conflicted. Hellen Settles, a retired history teacher and NAACP chapter chairperson, said she believed that Trump’s actions were impeachable, but she’s also thinking about the repercussions: a possible Pence presidency.

“Mike Pence is a right-wing zealot,” said Settles. “At least with Trump we know what we got. Mike Pence is dangerous! That’s what people fail to look at, that that’s what’s waiting in the wings.”

According to the New York Times, there are now 11 House Democrats who have not gone on record supporting the impeachment inquiry, including Anthony Brindisi, who represents upstate New York.

When asked about whether he thought supporting the impeachment inquiry would hurt his reelection campaign in 2020, Rose said he wasn’t concerned at all about challenges from the Republican party.

“They already tried once and we kicked their ass,” he said. “They have been absolute jokes, they will continue to be jokes, and I look forward to beating them by an incredible margin.”

Shumita Basu is a host, producer and reporter in the newsroom. You can follow her on Twitter @shubasu, and listen to her radio report on this story below.