Oath breaker

15. He isn’t preserving, protecting or defending the Constitution

Article II of the U.S. Constitution specifies the oath that presidents must take when they’re inaugurated:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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.

Beginning with George Washington, every president has agreed to do what it says in the oath. For more than 220 years, every president—irrespective of party, popularity, temperament, level of intelligence, degree of honesty, and where they were ultimately to stand when viewed through the lens of history—adhered to the essential terms of the oath. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, who were impeached, were steadfast in fulfilling the oath, as were deeply flawed presidents such as Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush. Even Richard Nixon, whose dishonest and dishonorable actions were an affront to the dignity of the office, didn’t come close to failing in his basic duty to follow the oath.

Then came the 45th president, the one we’ve been stuck with for the past four years. He not only has failed to uphold the terms of his oath; he has made a mockery of it.

Even the most dubious interpretation of the oath couldn’t possibly excuse any president’s acting to encourage forces that are actively struggling to subvert national security, but that is exactly what DT has done repeatedly since taking office. It is what he is doing right now. He views every decision he must make from the perspective of whether it will help or hurt him politically. Sometimes he miscalculates, but for the most part he knows what will play well to his core supporters, so that’s what he does. Even if it’s unethical. Even if it’s illegal. Even if it puts American lives at risk.

So he consorts with totalitarian strongmen. including sworn enemies of the United States. He befriends foreign antagonists, including at least one whose country has made multiple credible attempts to influence the outcome of American elections. He trusts Vladimir Putin’s word over that of the American intelligence community, i.e., the ones who are working around the clock to safeguard the U.S., and specifically DT himself, from threats originating abroad. Then he retaliates against government employees, including military officers who have devoted their careers to protecting the U.S., who testify truthfully to Congress about it.

On the domestic front, the situation is scarcely any better. Just recently, he’s been giving aid and comfort to groups of Americans who are planning to engage in rebellion against the state and commit acts of violence toward their fellow countrymen. Unlike the people of antifa, his latest favorite bogeyman, many of these people are organized in named groups with leaders. They are quick to turn violent when confronting people they decide to hate, and some of them are prepared to resort to abduction and murder when their adversaries are public officials. Let’s be clear: these people are not only extremely dangerous; many of them are trying to start another civil war and would be only too happy to overthrow the government. DT not only frequently fails to condemn them, he actually encourages them.

An oath of office is worth taking seriously, and failing to do so should result in removal from office. Since all but one Republican senator shirked their duty to make that happen, it is now up to the voters to let Joe Biden join the ranks of presidents who uphold the Constitution instead of undermining it.

Is he blameworthy?

Note that the oath of office has a built-in disclaimer: it says that presidents will do what they’re supposed to do to the best of their ability. Given DT’s psychological issues—among them emotional immaturity, anger management problems, and severely narcissistic tendencies—it is far from inconceivable that what we’re witnessing is the best of his ability. It is also possible that he is able to do far better but chooses not to. We have no way of knowing with any degree of certainty which is the case, but the question is academic. Either way, he’s not doing his job, so he has to be shown the door.