- Stop mourning – it’s a done deal, he’s our President
- Stop being confused and bewildered – get over it and get to work
- Stop looking for meaning, strategy, coherence – they’re missing
- Stop reading his Tweets – it’s part of his shiny object gambit
- Stop thinking he will change – he never has
- Stop believing he will become presidential – he doesn’t know how
- Stop thinking he’ll divest himself of conflicts – he’s too greedy
- Stop thinking Congress will stop him – they’re gutless
NOW IT’S UP TO US!
Yes, I’ve been beating the drum against Trump’s ignorance, arrogance, bigotry, misogyny, and bluster since before the election. His faults were so obvious and well documented; he was an easy target. But, now he’s the Commander-in-Chief with the nuclear codes at his stubby little fingertips. We need to focus. It’s time to end this charade and call him out for trying to hijack our democracy. He and his feckless, reckless, clueless posse have put American democracy in peril. We now have an uninformed, unread, impulsive, petulant, narcissist as the 45th President of the United States. And, it’s not just America that’s concerned; his ignorance of world affairs is scaring other world leaders too.
It’s hard to know where to begin; there are so many entry points, but here are some of the things we know and he doesn’t:
We know the institutions and documents of American democracy were designed to insure the orderly administration of government business. They, and the rules that govern them, lay out a rat’s nest of bureaucratic twists and turns – intentional twists and turns designed to protect us from tyranny by the majority. President Trump doesn’t understand this or appreciate that these safeguards were what helped put him in office.
The Electoral College is just one example; Hillary Clinton, with 3 million more votes, would be President of the United States if a simple majority dictated the result. Instead, the founders devised a formula that would protect the citizens of smaller states from being overwhelmed by the larger ones. In this case, that formula made the decisive difference in who would be our President. He’ll never understand that.
We know, on the legislative side, that Mr. Trump dislikes the “archaic” rules of the US Senate, although it’s an archaic rule that gave him his seat in the Oval Office. If archaic rules work for him he likes them, if not they need to go. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear today (5/3/2017) that he has no intention of abandoning the Senate’s “archaic” rules to facilitate Trump’s desire for simple majority rule. I hope he means it.
We also know that the President of the United States continues to enrich himself and his family at the expense of fellow Americans. One particularly egregious example is his continuing capacity as leaseholder of the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. Not only is it conflict of interest, it is also a violation of GAO (Government Accounting Office) rules. Nevertheless, it continues and every day the hotel profits go directly to the Trump organization.
It is the same with Mar-a-Lago, the Florida club he refers to as his “winter White House.” This is a Trump-owned private club with a $200,000 annual membership fee where members have access to the President and his staff and whose profits flow that directly to the President’s bottom line. Between January 20 and April 16,2017 he flew to Mar-a-Lago seven times on Air Force One at an average cost of $3,000,000 per trip. American taxpayers paid every cent of the cost.
It is both illegal and immoral for President Trump to perpetuate the sham that he has disengaged from his business interests. His two sons are flying maniacally around the globe closing new deals for the Trump organization, while he packs the White House staff with family members who continue to promote their own brands and financial interests closely tied to his.
The American people have a right to know the extent of those business interests, and the only way we will ever know is if he releases his tax returns. Before Congress begins crafting anything like tax reform or tax cuts, Americans need to know how these reforms will affect the President’s own businesses. Will he benefit from the changes and to what extent? Where are his assets located? How were they financed? How much debt does he have and to whom? What are the sources of that debt? Can they be traced? Was any of the money laundered? Who are the individual creditors?
And finally, we know of Trump’s affection for despots and autocrats. It began with Putin, but with his Russian connections under scrutiny, he’s recently courted Korea’s Kim Jong Un, congratulated Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, met with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and invited the self-proclaimed murderer Rodrigo Duderte of the Philippines to the White House. Political commentators are bewildered by these actions and unsure of their meaning. At the least, they point to a fascination with authoritarian government. Donald’s newest best friends have demonstrated that it’s easier to get things done if a free press is silenced and opponents are either murdered or in jail. It’s the way Putin, Kim Jong Un, Recep Erdogan, Rodrigo Duderte have governed. It’s not the American way, but Trump’s frustration makes their way seem even better.
When is Congress going to wake up and stop pretending the Emperor’s new clothes are legitimate? They’re not. This is the flabby truth. The statues are crude, but so is he. He’s a fraud and pretender whose actions are endangering the architecture of our democracy, the democracy our founders worked so diligently to give us. Let’s stop fooling ourselves. He’s not going away in the short term. We need to acknowledge the reality but find a way to block his self-dealing and his moves toward autocratic rule.
We know these things.
IT’S UP TO US NOW!