The Amend Corner

Wait and see on impeachment

Posted 10/10/19

Should President Trump be impeached?

Maybe, or maybe not, but the House of Representatives has taken a big step beyond just talking about impeachment, opening an investigation of the president to …

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The Amend Corner

Wait and see on impeachment


Should President Trump be impeached?

Maybe, or maybe not, but the House of Representatives has taken a big step beyond just talking about impeachment, opening an investigation of the president to determine whether the president’s actions really merit impeachment and removal from office.

Now I oppose Donald Trump, and I don’t think he should ever have become president, but I’m not so sure about impeachment. The House of Representatives would have to put together an iron-clad case and convince quite a few Republican senators of the president’s guilt. But then, that’s why the Democrats are only investigating at present, not actually voting to impeach.

Still, I think Trump’s performance since taking office in 2017 is best described with one of Trump’s favorite words, “disaster,” and the longer he occupies the White House, the worse his performance gets.

Trump supporters, especially those who write syndicated columns, say people who oppose President Trump are motivated entirely by hatred. They mean that we have no rational basis for opposing him, so we must be motivated by irrational hate.

This is pure hypocrisy, since these same writers have spent most of three decades spewing hatred for Hilary Clinton, and displayed open contempt of Barack Obama from the day he began running for president. Given that record, they have absolutely no moral standing to accuse anyone of harboring irrational hatred.

Besides, I avoid hating people because hatred blocks rational thought. Furthermore, hatred tends to worsen as long as you hold on to it. Once you have decided to hate someone, you keep finding more ways to hate him, and your hatred spreads to include anybody connected with that person. Pretty soon, you hate so many people that you can’t find anyone to talk to. 

Trump also accuses his opponents of hatred, but in his case, he calls it treason, which is worse. Worse, President Trump often accuses anyone who challenges him of treason. He has, for example, said that Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House committee investigating him, should resign and be investigated for treason. The act Trump believes is treasonous is that Schiff summarized the conversation Trump had with the Ukraine president and hinted at possible criminal behavior. Well, what Schiff said in no way meets the definition of treason found in the Constitution, and Trump’s call for him to be prosecuted for such a crime demonstrates the president’s major shortcoming: He doesn’t know or understand what the Constitution says about treason.

Further proof is Trump’s recent claim that Article II of the Constitution gives the president power to do anything he wants. That’s not what the document says, and there are checks on his powers. Many of the things a president can do have to be ratified by the Congress, for example. The fact is, the Constitution’s authors were divided over whether to even have a president, fearing that a strong president would act like a king and abuse his power. Article II was written with that in mind and it made the president subject to the checks and balances written into the Constitution.

That’s the major problem with Donald Trump’s conduct since taking office. His understanding of the Constitution and his role as president is flawed, and he believes he has license to do whatever he wants. If you hear a soft voice  saying, “I told them so,” it’s probably Patrick Henry speaking from the grave; Henry opposed the Constitution and especially the creation of a single chief executive.

Trump also has some difficulty with the facts. He showed that at the beginning of his presidency by tearing up the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement which, he said, gave up too much to China. The only trouble is China was not part of the agreement. It was an agreement with all the nations bordering the Pacific Ocean except China, and its purpose was to give all of them, including us, a stronger position to negotiate with China on trade and other issues.  Killing the agreement made it possible for Trump to deal with China one-on-one, and he has done that by opening a trade war with China. That trade war has caused numerous problems for American business, particularly technology companies who have suppliers in China. China has retaliated by taxing American products, and that has hurt farmers who have worked hard to sell crops such as soy beans and wheat to the Chinese. That has hurt our economy, and there are signs that the trade war and the uncertainty that goes with it may cause a worldwide recession.

Now, I could probably write five or six columns with the reasons I oppose what the Trump administration is doing, and I suppose I could be branded a Trump hater or even a traitor. I’m neither, and I am not so sure impeachment is a good idea. But the Democrats may surprise me and find actions by the president that make an air-tight case and hold a trial.

We will all have to wait and see what happens.

The Amend Corner