Disgrace and Dereliction of Duty

It has undoubtedly been a delirium-inducing 24 hours for many Americans. First came the conviction of the president’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort on eight felony counts. Seemingly within mere minutes, his former personal lawyer and alleged fixer Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in open court, indicating that he was directed by a candidate to violate campaign finance laws. Then came another revelatory tsunami, the news that his semi-covert de-facto public relations czar, National Enquirer boss David Pecker, is believed to have cooperated with the investigation into Cohen.

Without pause, this particularly dark stretch in modern political history grew even darker, and the stage was set for a venomous presidential response. And unfortunately, President Trump didn’t disappoint. As is his odious custom, the president hastily-tweeted,

I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” – make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!

Further articulating his dissatisfaction with the day’s legal developments, the president sat down with his always hospitable friends over at Fox News. In the less-than-challenging interview, Trump expressed a sentiment without precedent among his contemporaries. In unfurling his disgust with Robert Mueller’s so-called “witch hunt”, and apparently with the tactics used by law enforcement nationwide, Trump said “flipping almost ought to be illegal”.

No, you didn’t read that incorrectly, the sitting President of the United States, the man who ultimately presides over the whole of the federal law enforcement apparatus, believes that cooperating with a lawful investigation should be outlawed. This after inexplicably praising a convicted felon and now noted fraudster, a man he previously fired and is alleged to have privately berated and labeled as a “crook”.

For the better part of two years, many of us, stricken by the paralysis of disbelief, have watched as the president has arguably absconded from fulfilling the responsibilities entrusted to him as the holder of such an esteemed office. We’ve watched him impair the competency of our national security decision-making processes by revoking, and threatening to revoke, the security clearances of his perceived rivals, decisions motivated solely by personal animus. We’ve watched him enact a foreign policy which gleefully-corrodes essential security and economic alliance systems. And we’ve witnessed him steadfastly-deny an ongoing attack by a hostile foreign power.

Yet his comments deriding the principles of American jurisprudence seem to complete a very ominous picture. By maligning the very tenets of justice, the president has revealed an unacceptable hostility toward his domestic constitutional duties. He has, unequivocally, rebuked his Article II, Section 3, charge to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. He has, in one shadowy day, signaled a penchant for dereliction of duty.


(Featured image “911: White House Grounds“, by Tina Hager, as the work of a federal employee, this image is within the public domain/cropped from original.)