EDITORIAL: Trump is unfit for presidency

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Illustration by Melissa Mills

After the chaotic 2016 election, Donald Trump stood on the steps of the Capitol and solemnly swore to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

He has not kept that promise.

The oath of office is a president’s promise to set aside his private desires for the betterment of the public interest, to serve the nation as a whole rather than any factions within it. Trump displays no understanding of these obligations. To the contrary, he has routinely prioritized his self-interest above the responsibilities of the presidency. 

He has mounted a concerted challenge to the separation of powers, to the rule of law and to the civil liberties embodied in our country’s foundations. He has purposefully inflamed America’s divisions. He has set himself against the American idea, the principle that all of us—of every race, gender, and creed—are created equal.

He has failed to disclose his extensive financial interests, instead using the platform of the presidency to promote them. This has encouraged a wide array of political leaders, domestic and foreign, to seek to influence his decisions by funneling cash to properties such as Mar-a-Lago and Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. That is the textbook definition of money laundering. 

We, the Viewpoints Editorial Board, believe that the president has proven a million times over that he is not, and has never been, fit to lead the United States of America and must be removed from office immediately in order to preserve our nation’s future.

More troubling still, Trump has demanded that public officials put their loyalty to him ahead of their duty to the public. On his first full day in office, he ordered his press secretary to lie about the size of his inaugural crowd. He never forgave his first attorney general for failing to shut down investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and ultimately forced his resignation.

Trump has blatantly insulted the rule of law, attempting to have the Department of Justice launch criminal probes into his critics and political adversaries. He has repeatedly attacked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His efforts to mislead, impede and shut down Mueller’s investigation have led the special counsel to consider whether the president obstructed justice.

Trump has repeatedly trampled the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. He pledged to ban entry to the United States on the basis of religion and did his best to follow through. He has attacked the press as the “enemy of the people” and barred critical outlets and reporters from attending his events. He has assailed black protesters. He has called for his critics in private industry to be fired from their jobs. Elected officials of both parties have repeatedly condemned such statements, which has only spurred the president to repeat them.

Trump’s actions in office clearly meet, and exceed, the criteria to trigger his removal. But with his constant gaslighting of the public and “Presidential Harassment” tweets, the idea of impeachment has become widely misunderstood, leading Americans to mistake it for a threat to constitutional order.

This cannot wait. With every passing day, Trump further undermines our national commitment to American ideals and damages the foundations our country has built. He has made a mockery of the United States in the eyes of its citizens, foreign nations, and its allies. Our standing in the world is in shambles as a result and the consequences will be felt for generations to come, nationally and internationally.