To my knowledge, this is the first time an American president has initiated a campaign of persecution against members of a religious faith. By issuing an executive order prohibiting Muslim war refugees from entering the country, President Trump has officially begun a government program of blatant discrimination, not only against refugees, but against American citizens of the Islamic faith as well. This is a clear violation of constitutional law.
The path to this unprecedented behavior began early in Trump’s presidential campaign when he singled out certain individuals and groups with abusive threats against their civil rights, using crude gestures and bigoted phrases. Trump attacked invalids, members of the press, racial minorities, women and Muslims.
Trump implied at every opportunity that all citizens and immigrants belonging to the Muslim religion are potential terrorists who represent a violent threat to American security. His wild and irresponsible rhetoric was aimed at mobilizing support from the perpetrators of white nationalism and their minions of fear and ignorance.
So far what we have witnessed from the Trump administration is the erratic, autocratic behavior of a radically narcistic presidency careening down a path to a monumental collision with constitutional law.
Within the first month of his administration, Trump has compiled an egregious record of uncivil behavior. He intimidates reporters at news conferences, throwing temper tantrums when he can’t give articulate answers to questions about issues confronting his administration.
From his personal attacks on federal judges to insulting remarks aimed at foreign leaders. Trump has become an affront to the standards of protocol American presidents are supposed to respect.
Refusing to release his tax returns or allow a full disclosure of his foreign investments, Trump has consistently resisted separating his personal financial interests from his duties as president. For his cabinet, he selected a lineup of unqualified, ethically challenged billionaires who came loaded with conflicts of interest. In effect, Trump has set the stage for what may be the most corrupt administration in American history.
When a president violates the law or proves too incompetent to serve, Article II, Section 4, of the Constitution provides for a process of impeachment: “The President shall be removed from office for and conviction of Treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Trump invites impeachment on the grounds he violated the First Amendment by singling out a religious group for persecution in addition, his refusal to disclose his financial activities in foreign countries could make him liable for violating Article 1, Section 9, which prohibits a president from receiving an emolument or money from a foreign state.
Congressional support for a thorough investigation of Trump’s questionable activities that could lead to impeachment proceedings is dependent upon what and how often representatives hear about the issue from their constituents.
Getting rid of Trump now through an orderly constitutional process is preferable to waiting for him to self-destruct during a national crisis. We need to inform Congress that delaying an investigation is not in the best interest of our country.
In the meantime, citizens who believe justice is best served by following the traditions of constitutional law should exercise every opportunity to question, protest and resist the destructive policies of an administration that threatens to unravel the fabric of our democracy.