During the George W. Bush presidency, I was staggered by number of impeachable actions that were taken under his administration. At one point, I had counted up to more than 30. But by the time I got to posting them online, I lost track of a dozen or so. The remaining 20 are documented in the Bush Impeachment essay. Donald Trump's presidency looks to be similarly problematic, so this time I'm starting the list early, even before he takes office.
Note while I am a "democratic socialist" as a matter of philosophical inclination, there have been many Republican presidents I admire, even while disagreeing with their fiscal policies. (Eisenhower, Regan, and George Bush senior come to mind.)
And there was one ineffective Democratic president (Jimmy Carter) I would have impeached for failing to take action. That failure caused hostages to be held in Iran for more than a year, a situation that came to an end only when Reagan was about to take office, gun in hand and finger on the trigger. (You see, I am strong on defense for the same reason that I am a democratic socialist--it's about what's best for the people of the country.)
Finally, note that a sitting President can be impeached for any reason, involving any kind of impropriety. The offenses do not have to be illegal.
- Lieing about the number of jobs saved in an Indianna factory.
Giving high-level cabinet posts to unqualified individuals with questionable intent.
- Actually, his documented instances of lieing are numerous. This is just one example. More are sure to follow.
- The question is, how effective can a president be if no one can possibly believe what he says?
Failure to attend security briefings.
- Jeff Sessions for Attorney General--a know racist and white supremacist who has called organizations that protect civil liberties like the NAACP and ACLU "un-American".
- Scott Pruit as head of the EPA--a fossil-fuel advocate who has who sued the EPA and denies climate change.
This appointment by itself threatens the very existence of humanity, and is sufficient grounds for impeachment.
- Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary--who has long opposed government control of public education
(which, as it happens, is the only path to equality of opportunity)
- Andy Puzder for Secretary of Labor--a longtime foe of unions
(who gave us the 5-day, 40-hour week, and most of the benefits we take for granted)
On the surface, the appointments appear to be aimed at undermining the goals of the agencies in question.
That will probably appeal to Republicans and short-term profit takers. But given that the role of government
is, in my view, to embody wisdom and foresight, it is difficult to believe that effectively deactivating those
agencies will result in long-term good for the populace.
Violating a critical foreign-bribery provision of the United States Constitution.
- Say what?? That has to be the most important part of his job.
Unbridled, vindictive, and unthoughtful Tweeting
- His refusal to sell his businesses means that he he and his family will be getting paid by foreign interests.
- Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitute states that “no person holding any Office...shall, “without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign state.”
- At the Virginia convention debating the Constitution, Edmund Randolph used the example of a President taking emoluments from a foreign power as grounds for impeachment.
- His plan to have his children manage his interests as a form of "separation" is Corruption 101--a ruse used the world over that fools no one.
Failing to hold press conferences.
- As president-elect, he has tweeted about everything and anything he perceives as a slight to his image.
- As Thomas Friedman wrote in response to What are you most worried about in a Trump presidency?:
"I find the way he has been tweeting and approaching complex issues disturbing and unbecoming of a president. With Taiwan, for instance. It's reasonable to say we want a more muscular relationship with China. Administrations come and go and it's perfectly within the realm of proper foreign policy to consider that option. But you want to do that when you have a Secretary of State to ask about the diplomatic implications, a Secretary of Commerce about the commercial implications, a Secretary of Treasury about the impact on the dollar, and so on. But to just tweet it out and without deep analysis of the tradeoffs of these things is worrisome."
Failure to release tax returns.
- It has been suggested, in fact, that he is actually seeking to silence the press--thereby avoiding any thoughtful critique or embarassing questions. His actions are certainly not illegal. But are they what we want, or what the country needs?
- This is simply unconscionable. Not doing so before the election was (perhaps) prudent, to prevent political attacks. Waiting until the audit was finished was similarly prudent. Not doing so after being elected and after the audit finished is simply unacceptable. He could be getting billions from the Chinese and Russians. He could be getting money from anywhere. We have no way to know, until he releases those returns--and without them, no way to prove that he is acting responsibly in his office, on behalf of the American people, rather than on behalf of his bottom line.
For a list of 50 reasons for impeachment, check out this video by Keith Olbermann, posted on February 6, 2017--a few weeks after his inauguration. The list mostly involves lies, a clear separation from reality, and an inability to deal with foreign leaders. I may not like Mike Pence, but at least he is not a dangerous lunatic who may well cause our country irreparable harm.