Commentary: Trump has never attempted to be president of US

Donald Trump has never been the president of the United States of America — at least the America that stood for truth and justice for all, respect for all citizens, protection of world stability through leadership of strong alliances, opposition to despots and promotion of democracy. Trump has from the beginning been all about promoting himself. He has mocked women, minorities, traditional heroes and foreign allies and a free and independent press that is essential for democracy.

Trump’s unanticipated election was the result of divisive rhetoric and the considerable assistance of a Russian cyber-intelligence effort to influence voters’ opinions and willingness to vote. To this day, Trump has denied that Russian interference occurred and has avoided any criticism of Vladimir Putin. Trump has simply repeated endlessly that — contrary to the unanimous conclusion of all America’s intelligence agencies — Russian interference was a “hoax” and “fake news”. Incredibly, his supporters seem to have swallowed this nonsense and even defend him.

Trump, despite protesting that he inherited an economy in shambles, came to office on a long wave of economic recovery engineered from the disastrous recession that greeted his predecessor. The biggest legislative achievement by his administration has been a large tax cut which disproportionally benefited the wealthiest individuals (including himself) and large corporations.

The resultant boost in deficit spending has so far served as a stimulus to continue the economic growth established under Obama. Unfortunately — despite Trump’s insistence — the rate of growth has not exceeded the previous growth rate but has dramatically expanded the federal deficit (which had been declining before Trump took office). Economic expansion never lasts forever, and our economic performance appears to be slowing. Part of this slowdown is attributable to Trump’s trade wars.

To Putin’s delight, Trump has consistently derided our traditional European allies and attempted to destabilize NATO and the European Union. Arguing that he has improved NATO by causing the alliance partners to spend more on defense simply ignores the fact that it has been done by sowing doubt about America’s commitment to the alliance. Trump’s encouragement of British withdrawal from the EU (“Brexit”) is further unraveling the post-WWII cohesion of Europe which was engineered by America and Britain to prevent the nationalistic rivalry that started WWI and re-ignited it as WWII.

Ironically, many Trump supporters seem unaware or oblivious to the fact that “America First” was the rallying cry of Nazi sympathizing isolationists in the years leading to the German invasion of France in 1940 and the Soviet Union in 1941.

Trump has not only denied Russian meddling in our 2016 election but has (to date) successfully obstructed any investigation of that meddling. He fired FBI chief Comey to quash the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference and the involvement of the Trump campaign. Then he attempted to remove special counsel Mueller, directed his staff to lie about it and falsify written denial of actual events. He even authored a false cover letter about the purpose of a meeting in Trump Tower between Russians promising to represent the Russian government’s help to his campaign and his son, son-is-law and campaign chairman.

He tried to prevent witnesses from testifying about Russian involvement, refused to testify himself, and submitted false statements to investigators. He has also dangled hints of presidential pardons to key witnesses which constitute witness tampering. He has made no attempt to rein in Russia’s continuing interference and opposed efforts to protect and strengthen the country’s election system.

The Mueller Report included documentation of more than 100 unreported contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians — from scheming about “dirt” on his opponent to sharing polling data and campaign strategies in upper Midwestern “battleground” states. The report also enumerated numerous instances of Trump attempting to obstruct the investigation. Trump’s response has been “no collusion, no obstruction”, a claim echoed by his handpicked attorney general and his loyal party allies in the Congress.

Thanks to some sycophant media allies (especially Fox News) and right-wing internet supporters, many Americans are apparently willing to accept these nonsensical claims and “move on”. One cannot avoid hearing Lincoln’s observation that “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some people all of the time…”

It is high time to formally open an impeachment investigation of Donald Trump. Hopefully, those who claim to support truth and justice will eventually acknowledge Trump’s abuses of and threats to our democracy.

P.S. The notion that a sitting president can’t be indicted for a crime is absurd. We need a law to correct such nonsense.

Mike Apgar is a resident of Dover.

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