“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
That is the oath that every president must take before taking office. Donald Trump took that oath on 20 January 2017.
On Monday, Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that existing law did not give Mr. Trump the power to enforce the policy, known as “migrant protection protocols”, that would force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases proceed.
Sunday night, Trump fired his hard-nosed Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, because she had refused to engage in activities that were illegal, activities in which Trump was overstepping his authority.
Last June, Judge Dana Sabraw ruled against Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children at the border, and yet recently Trump has said he plans to re-implement that policy.
And last Friday, Donald Trump, the ‘man’ who was placed into office by the auspices of the electoral college despite losing the election, gave a little speech to Customs and Border Patrol agents, telling them not to allow any migrants into the country:
“We’re full, our system’s full, our country’s full — can’t come in! Our country is full, what can you do? We can’t handle any more, our country is full. Can’t come in, I’m sorry. It’s very simple. If judges give you trouble, say, ‘Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.’”
After Trump left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told. Okay, it’s nice to know at least somebody has some good sense, but still … the person who took the oath of office had the gall to blatantly and publicly violate that oath. He is thumbing his nose at not only the Constitution, but at We the People.
In order for the system of checks and balances as defined by the U.S. Constitution to work, the executive branch must respect the prerogatives of Congress, from appropriations to oversight, and the interpretations by judges of the law and the Constitution. What does it say about a ‘president’ who defies the rule of law, who defies the very Constitution he took an oath to uphold? And what does it say about members of Congress who continue to allow such perfidy?
There have been a number of areas in which Trump has defied the Constitution during his nearly 27 months in office. Just two examples …
- Trump is violating both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses of the Constitution, by accepting payments from foreign and state governments at the Trump International Hotel in DC.
- Trump’s first executive order banning travel from six Middle Eastern countries was in violation of the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
“When someone becomes president, that person’s responsibility is to the country and doing what is in the best interest of the American people and, at that point, business interests need to be put aside because people need to have faith that their leaders are working for them, not that their leaders are working for their own financial benefit.” — Noah Bookbinder, executive director of CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)
It is painfully obvious that Donald Trump has absolutely no concern for the people of this nation. And yet, some 40% of the people in this nation support him. The current ‘president’ of the United States violates his oath of office on a regular basis, his speech is more fitting for a trucker’s hangout than the White House, he incites white supremacists and supports anti-LGBT groups … and 40% of the nation still love him. I’m stunned, but that isn’t my point at the moment. My point tonight is something I want you to really think about. What’s next?
If he feels so emboldened that he can blow off the U.S. Constitution, that he can defy the orders of federal judges, then where does he stop? Is there any limit to what he will do? Yesterday he signed more executive orders taking away state’s rights to halt oil pipeline construction – construction that would harm the environment and wildlife. Yes, there will be lawsuits and the courts are unlikely to rule in Trump’s favour, but he has already shown that he does not respect the courts.
Until the last month or so, although I was frustrated and sometimes enraged by his behaviour, I felt that the courts and Congress would keep him somewhat in check. I no longer believe that. I now think that this ‘man’ envisions himself as a ruler, a dictator, perhaps even a king. And what choice do We the People have? Congress has proven useless, the courts are being proven useless … where does that leave us? I ask again … what’s next?