BY VERN TURNER
The primary duty of the president of the United States is to protect our people, our Constitution and our institutions from foreign influence or attacks. Recent events show all of us, still drawing a breath, that Donald Trump is indeed derelict in these basic duties of his office.
He is not defending the Constitution. He is not defending our institutions. He is not defending the people of the United States.
Thomas Friedman, a hard-boiled op-ed columnist for the New York Times, wrote a deeply disturbing article on the subject of this current president’s behavior regarding the Russian interference investigation by Robert Mueller. He writes as if someone has a finger on the alarm button: “Our democracy is in serious danger. President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way, he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.
“This is code red. The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office.”
I’ve been pointing all this out since even before Trump took the oath of office – integrity is something he seems to take delight in ignoring or defacing with his self-serving, self-absorbed narcissism. He whines that he is “fighting back” against his accusers and they’re calling it obstruction of justice.
Uh, Donald … when it quacks, has webbed feet and feathers, it’s probably a duck. Everything Trump has done since firing Jim Comey has screamed “obstruction of justice.”
Worse, he told Russian intelligence and statesmen how great it was to get that “nut job” FBI director off his back. He stupidly spilled security-laced beans to the Russians that compromised the identity of Israeli intelligence people.
I think Friedman’s choice of the phrase “towering fool” is, at best, just barely adequate.
After every one of our intelligence agencies formed a consensus that the Russians indeed were committing cyber/information warfare against our elections and our institutions of democracy, the Congress – yes, this Congress – actually passed measures defining significant sanctions against Russia. Trump tabled it and hasn’t commented on it. Trump is being derelict in his duty to defend us.
Friedman thinks Trump has been compromised in any number of ways by the Russians. Trump’s lieutenants are being busted, one after the other, for money laundering schemes with Russian oligarchs, the same people with whom Trump associated during the Miss Universe nonsense several years ago in Moscow.
Never mind all the lies and broken promises from this president since he began his moron-level campaign. Consider the points of the recent indictments against the 13 Russians and three Russian companies.
The evidence now shows that the Russians have been hard at invading our information networks, actually paid for and organized anti-Clinton campaigns and demonstrations and otherwise poisoned the electorate with disinformation to favor anyone but Hillary Clinton. We might recall, also, that Vladimir Putin has a very public animosity toward Mrs. Clinton that has been festering for years.
That said, why is anyone surprised that Clinton’s and the DNC’s e-mails were hacked by Russians? Also, why would candidate Trump shout to the world inviting the Russians to hack into Clinton’s e-mails? How did he know they were doing that?
Putin, being a “retired” KGB operative, would know how to run one of these disinformation campaigns against his own perceived nemesis, Hillary Clinton.
Trump, as it turned out, became the perfect pigeon for Putin’s ideas: Was Trump compromised by some salacious videos [Steele’s dossier], in the tank with the Russian oligarchs “funding” his ego-driven tower projects and otherwise connected to Russian mafia? I think it won’t be long before Robert Mueller pops the lid off that can of scorpions.
Donald Trump just rewrote the user’s manual on how to act guilty of crimes. He has denied accusations that haven’t been made. For example, he has misinterpreted the language in the 13 indictments and claimed they exonerated him and his campaign of collusion. They did no such thing, of course, but they did prove that Trump’s whines about this investigation of Russian meddling in our elections as a hoax were lies. The thing is, he knew they were lies. He knew they were meddling. He invited them to meddle in our election process. What kind of patriot does that? A seditious and traitorous one, that’s who.
On top of that, he has disgraced the recent shooting victims in Florida with his mindless rant about the FBI’s oversight. He told that agency to spend more time fighting crimes than investigating his alleged collusion with Russia. Nice. Then he actually visited Parkland, FL, and praised the first responders, doctors and nurses. Did he visit the wounded victims? Nope. Did he mention anything about the guns? Nope. What he did, when the wind stopped blowing so hard, was go play golf.
In all fairness, Trump did order his Attorney General to do something to ban bump stocks that turn an AR-15 into a machine gun. The thing is, a bump stock was not used in the Florida killings. The shooter fired rounds at crowds of innocent children and adults as fast as he could pull the trigger. That would be about two rounds per second. That would also be fast enough to kill 17 kids and teachers, while wounding another 14 people who thought it was safe to go to school that day.
Throughout these last 16 months, or so, we have watched the Trump administration dash from pillar to post trying to cover up every scandal: the scandal de jour. The White House even commented that the Florida killings gave them a “reprieve” from the daily scandals surrounding them. Classy, those Trump-ites … They’ve gone through staff like an elephant goes through peanuts.
The administration will not point the finger at the men who commit violence against women. That would beg two questions: Why would any self-respecting woman ever vote for this guy? Aren’t women part of our population that are protected by the Constitution and those who pledge to defend it?
In all the cases mentioned here, as well as many more along the way, it is crystal clear that this president is in dereliction of his duty and daily violates his oath of office. He may eventually be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors when we get a Congress that has some backbone, but meanwhile Trump disgraces our nation every day, with every tweet, every lie and with every arrogant refusal to support our national institutions and norms.
My hope that this abject absurdity of a president will be a large enough case study to show that in order to keep our democracy, we must be informed of our choices for which we vote, and we must all vote … while we still can.
Clearly, those who voted for Donald Trump ignored all the red flags and bought into the Russian-created campaign against Hillary Clinton that appealed to their basest instincts, prejudices and bigotry.
Maybe the Russians know us better than we admit to knowing ourselves.
– Denver resident Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.