Republicans Ignored Their Constitutional Responsibility

Republicans Ignored Their Constitutional Responsibility

© David Burton 2020


     In 1776, America rebelled against the rule of King George III. The Declaration of Independence justified the Americans’ action by spelling out the autocratic actions perpetrated by the British ruler and listed 27 grievances against the king. Americans decided that their ruler had “done them wrong” and that his dictatorial actions justified his removal as their legitimate leader. Now, 244 years later, America has another leader who is abusing his powers of office in an autocratic manner, all too reminiscent of the actions of that British sovereign of yore.

     In 1776, America concluded that King George III had performed acts that were inconsistent with their rights and that he had misused the authority of his office. America judged him guilty as charged and proceeded - via the American revolution - to remove King George from authority over them.

     In 2020, it has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that Donald Trump has misused the authority granted him under the laws and Constitution of the United States of America. The facts were fully uncovered and proven in the impeachment hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives. President Trump used his office unlawfully for personal gain, jeopardized American security and obstructed Congress in its investigation of these and other charges.

     The President and his Republican sycophants initially denied any wrongdoing by blocking the presentation of documents verifying the charges against the president and prohibiting witnesses from appearing before the House of Representatives and the Senate.

     When it became obvious to the President and the Republicans that Trump had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and the facts of the president’s undeniable illegal actions could not be hidden, the President and his toadies reverted to a defense that, in effect, said “O.K., so he’s guilty, but that doesn’t mean he should be removed from office." The Constitution provides for removal from office when the President is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors”. The President’s defenders dismiss this step by making the allegation that such a move would deny the American people the right not to re-elect him in the next election. Our Republican senators who were supposedly elected in order to represent and serve the American people and to adhere to their oaths of office under the Consitution have instead chosen to lick the boots of this would be dictator. They have chosen to ignore their sworn duty to be impartial jurors in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. To be fair, so have the Democratic senators. If the senators were truly fair and impartial, the votes for and against impeachment could never have been strictly along party lines – Democrats for impeachment and Republicans against impeachment - with one exception, that of Mitt Romney, the senator from Utah. SHAME ON BOTH PARTIES!

     In 1776, American patriots rose up and removed one dictator from his position of authority. In 2020, the same opportunity has arisen. The behavior of Donald Trump during his time in office has been amply demonstrated to be that of a self-centered, egotistical despot. The charges brought against him have been proven. BUT, we Americans appear to have lost that patriotic spirit that led our forefathers to rebel against the despotic actions of King George III. Instead our elected officials have ignored their constitutional responsibility in favor of political and personal considerations. They have told Donald Trump that its O.K. to ignore our constitution and our laws as long as he has more votes in Congress than the other party. Our elected officials have set a highly dangerous precedent. A future president can act with impunity as long as he has a majority in Congress and can control them. Such are the grounds leading to dictatorship and tyranny. This is not the American way. This is not what the patriots of 1776 fought for.

     The Declaration of Independence justified the removal of King George III from authority over the peoples of America citing the following: . . a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. . . The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations . . . He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good . . . He has obstructed the Administration of Justice . . . A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." . . . . Many of these charges apply to the actions of Donald Trump. Are we allowing a 1776 British dictator - King George III - to be replaced 244 years later with a 2020 home-grown dictator – King Donald I?

     Following the foregone conclusion of the impeachment hearings and votes, one local newspaper writer put out the following (edited):

     As the impeachment trial fizzle{d} out this week, I {was} left wondering if the GOP {had} lost its mind . . .
     “I’m not referring to the Republican senators’ collective decision not to remove the president from office. I’ve always argued that this was a question reasonable people could differ on. But I’ve also argued for months now that it was clear the president was guilty of abusing his office by pressuring the Ukrainian government to target former Vice President Joe Biden in a corruption probe.
      - - -
     “For most of that time, taking their cues from the top, the president’s most ardent defenders treated this entirely reasonable observation as if it was both crazy and outrageous. The call was ‘perfect,’ the president insisted over and over again. How dare you suggest otherwise.
     “Now . . . all that {was} left of this circus {was} for the Republican senators to finish their speeches and fold up the tent. What was otherworldly . . . suddenly {became} grounded. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Marco Rubio (R- Fla.) were the first out of the block to explain that the president {was} guilty but shouldn’t be ousted for it. [Emphasis mine]
     “In a statement, Rubio explained that he always worked from the assumption the charges were true, but: ‘Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office.’
      - - -
     “Some Trumpists {grumbled} about {some Republican senators explicitly} noting Trump’s guilt when doing so might influence the trial. Now that he’s off the hook, few are calling these senators crazy for stating the obvious.
     “But such selective deployment of outrage is the GOP’s gift these days.
      - - -
     “One chapter in the Trump impeachment saga is ending, but the story is far from over. More evidence of the president’s guilt will come out, from former national security adviser John Bolton’s book and elsewhere. Indeed, one can be forgiven for thinking that the reason Rubio, Alexander and others felt the need to proclaim the president’s guilt has less to do with a desire to tell the truth and more with getting ahead of a future torrent of irrefutable facts.
     “Nor should we rule out that Trump, emboldened by his ‘exoneration,’ will do something even worse. [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 1)

     Shamefully, “Senate Republicans followed through on their cover-up of President Trump’s abuses of presidential power by blocking witnesses and subpoenas for his Senate trial. . . . Senate Republicans acquitted Trump in the impeachment trial. . . . Trump celebrated by delivering a vindictive, self-pitying, hour long diatribe from the East Room of the White House. He called Democratic lawmakers ‘vicious’ and ‘evil’, questioned their religious faith, and pledged revenge against all those he believed have wronged him. . . . And the leading members of his political party, like the trained seals they’ve become, clapped and hooted their praise. [Emphasis mine] . . . When the history books are written, the past week-and-a-half may very well be seen as the point of no return, when the guardrails on our democracy came off and our political system became permanently and irretrievably infected by the virus of Trumpism. It’s not just that Senate Republicans covered up and then excused Trump’s crimes, it’s that they have given him carte blanche to do it again. [Emphasis mine] . . . If Republicans cannot say it is wrong to use the power of the presidency to pressure a foreign government into attacking a political rival, what will they say when Trump tries to do even worse? . . . With the president training his guns on Senator Mitt Romney for voting to convict him, will any Senate Republican have the courage to stand up to the president if he openly breaks the law to ensure his re-election? . . . the president of the United States delayed military assistance to the Ukraine so that it would open a phony investigation of Joe Biden – and he got away with it. It’s time to widen our imaginations to what Trump is capable of doing. . . . Trump’s acquittal . . . represents a true before-and-after moment in American history – unleashing the full criminality and vindictiveness of an authoritarian president on a nation with political institutions ill-suited to stop him” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 2)

     King Donald I lost no time in taking revenge against anyone who would dare to oppose or expose his wrong-doings. “In an abrupt house-cleaning two days after he was acquitted in the U.S. Senate, President Trump fired two of members of his administration who testified against him in the Democrats’ impeachment hearings, recalling European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland just hours after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was escorted out of the White House.
      - - -
     “Sondland was a crucial witness in the House impeachment inquiry, telling investigators that ‘Everyone was in the loop’ on Trump’s desire to press Ukraine to investigate alleged corruption involving Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Sondland told lawmakers he believed there was a ‘quid pro quo’ connecting a desired White House visit for Ukraine’s leader and an announcement that the country would investigate the Bidens.
     “The late-breaking development of Sondland’s ouster . . . followed news that Vindman, who also testified against Trump in the Democrats’ impeachment case and was accused by Republicans of leaking information was escorted out of the White House complex on Friday, according to his lawyer.
     “ ‘The truth has cost Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman his job, his career, and his privacy,’ . . . an attorney for Vindman, said in a statement.
     “ ‘He did what any member of our military is charged with doing every day: he followed orders, he obeyed his oath, and he served his country, even when doing so was fraught with danger and personal peril. . . . And for that, the most powerful man in the world — buoyed by the silent, the pliable, and the complicit — has decided to e xact revenge.’ “ (Ref. 3)

     Prior to the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin famously said, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” He was referring to the almost-certain vindictive response of King George III to the impending American rebellion against him. Here in 2020, we are witnessing the vindictiveness of King Donald I toward anyone who dares to oppose, criticize or be truthful about his misdeeds. King Donald’s record on this is evident from his history of insulting all who have dared to confront him. See Reference 4.

     “Impeachment wasn’t meant to be the extreme rarity it has been throughout American history. Like other legislative checks and balances — the power to override vetoes and to reject judicial nominees, for example — the power to impeach a president (or any federal official or judge) for what Alexander Hamilton called the ‘abuse or violation of some public trust’ was expected to be used by Congress as needed. The framers of the Constitution knew that regular elections wouldn’t suffice to protect the public from a bad president. That’s why it was ‘indispensable,’ as James Madison told the delegates in Philadelphia, ‘that some provision should be made for defending the community against the incapacity, negligence, or perfidy of the Chief Magistrate.’
     “If that was true more than 200 years ago, when American presidents wielded far less power than they do today — when there were no nuclear missiles, no multitrillion-dollar federal budgets, no sweeping executive orders — it is even truer today.
      - - -
     “The Trump and Clinton impeachments didn’t end with the president’s conviction, but that doesn’t mean impeaching them was futile. In both cases, the nation got a hard look at bad behavior in the White House. In both cases, presidents were forced to defend themselves before Congress — a reminder that presidents are not {supposed to be} kings, and that the legislative branch, which has relinquished so much of its authority in recent decades, is supposed to be preeminent. [Emphasis mine]
     “Impeachment . . . was designed to keep powerful officials accountable, and to eject them from office when their ‘incapacity, negligence, or perfidy’ is intolerable. . . .
      - - -
     “Let’s break the taboo against impeachment. Let’s replace it with a taboo against retaining dishonest, destructive, or despicable officials in office. The Constitution provides a useful tool for preserving the integrity of our government and mitigating the electorate’s gravest mistakes. That tool has grown rusty from disuse, but it’s not too late to clean it off and put it to the use the Founders intended.”(Ref. 5)

     The actions of the Republican Congressional delegation resulted in “the defense lawyer for the president of the United States informing Americans that their president is free to threaten anyone he chooses with whatever consequences he wants in order to extract anything he wishes in return, and still be immune from impeachment, so long as he believes it will help him remain in office [Emphasis mine] — an interpretation of American democracy at once novel and totalitarian.
     “It included Republicans at the State of the Union acting like frat boys, chanting ‘Four more years!’ to convey their enthusiasm for a president not merely clinically megalomaniacal but conclusively demonstrated to be epically corrupt.
     “. . . {Some} Republicans who were too intimidated by the president to vote to convict him openly admitted that the charges were true.
     “{And this for Donald Trump, who, standing} at a lectern embossed with the presidential seal, . . . once again modeled pure dignity and grace for the American people, using obscenities and calling the FBI ‘scum.’ Trump also denounced those who had proven his guilt, calling them ‘the crookedest, most dishonest people I’ve ever seen.’
      - - -
     “But there was {some} good news, and there were {some} people to be proud of. [Em[phasis mine] Sen. Mitt Romney, the sole Republican in Congress to be honest about Donald Trump, reminded Americans what patriotism and political courage look like. Romney’s vote to convict Trump has already generated the viciousness that is Trump World’s calling card, but it has also earned him a degree of admiration reserved for few politicians, one that will endure in history.
     Ditto for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the son of a Ukrainian family that came to America fleeing totalitarianism because in America “right matters.” Vindman fought for his nation, told the truth — and was kneecapped by a president who dodged military service by having his wealthy family pay for a ‘bone spurs’ diagnosis.
     “Mitt Romney and Alexander Vindman are saving graces, individuals we can point to when telling our children and grandchildren what America has been, what it has meant and why it deserves to be rescued. They are examples that provide some hope as we struggle to save a country that has long provided hope to so many.” (Ref. 6)

     Perhaps it is now more important than ever to impress upon our elected officials that their first responsibility is to our nation, to the people whom they represent, and to the Constitution of these United States of America, to which they have taken an oath to follow. Republicans in Congress have ignored their constitutional responsibility. All Republicans and Democrats need to remember that patriotism supersedes party.


  1. Republicans shameless adherents to hypocritical oath, Jonah Goldberg, Boston Herald, Page 15, 5 February 2020.
  2. Trump’s acquittal could be a dangerous turning point, Michael A. Cohen, Boston Sunday Globe, Page K2,
    9 February 2020.
  3. Trump breaks out the broom, Sean Philip Cotter, Boston Herald, Page A4, 8 February 2020.
  4. Donald Trump Insults ALL – Friend and Foe Alike, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu; Article 383, 1 November 2019.
  5. Impeachment is a valuable tool, Jeff Jacoby, Boston Sunday Globe, Page K6, 9 February 2020.
  6. Romney, Vindman among the best America can be, Jeff Robbins, Boston Herald, Page 25, 11 February 2020.

  20 February 2020 {Article 401; Politics_58}    
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