Why America will soon impeach Trump, the accidental president

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S in July 24, 2018. [File, Reuters]
Whether you like the United States, or not, it’s one country a lot of people in the world look up to for leadership. I know that’s a loaded statement that many hypocrites loathe to admit, but it’s fact. Some people revile America while others love it. Part of the philia lies in America as a land of possibility, a country where Barack Obama – a Kenyan of Luo descend – could become President of the most powerful nation on earth. But part of the phobia lies in America might, racism, and its arrogance. Question – how can such a great country elect Donald Trump – a complete moron – as President? Answer – because it can also impeach him. And it will impeach him.

This is why. First, America likes to try new things. Don’t tell an American that something can’t be done. It’s a can-do nation. That’s part of the country’s national psyche. But there’s a difference between thoughtful wishing and wishful thinking. The latter is pie in the sky. The former is pragmatic. Most Americans are pragmatic. That’s why if something doesn’t work, they will change course. Simply put, Mr Trump hasn’t worked out. The man is an accidental president who sneaked in through the backdoor. As Winston Churchill opined, “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” It doesn’t always work, but it usually corrects itself. That’s why a correction is coming with a Trump heave-ho.

Second, America has many nuts – as in nutty people. But these nuts don’t usually end up controlling the majority. Trump’s political base has many nuts. They are so nutty that if he told them to go jump into the Grand Canyon they’d would do it. He tweets something and it becomes the holy gospel to them. He’s a messiah to them. I don’t know why because he doesn’t have a lot in common with them, except skin color. But the pedagogy of the oppressed is a powerful thing. The oppressed often love their oppressors. Trump took the country because a chunk of rational people joined the nuts. This chunk of “rational” people is abandoning Trump in droves.

Third, America has been embarrassed and humiliated by Trump before the world stage. Delegates openly laughed at him at the United Nations in September. His own cabinet members have described him as an “idiot,” “moron,” or a “child.” They say he doesn’t and won’t read anything. God – even Mobutu Sese Seko used to read the newspaper. Trump only watches TV. When he appeared with Moscow’s Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, he looked like a shrimp. Americans were scandalised. Within the United States, he does and says the most bizarre things. He called Rex Tillerson, his former Secretary of State, “dumb as a rock.” How can a US President talk like that? That’s why he must go.

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Truth allergy

Fourth, Trump doesn’t only play fast and loose with the rules, he often violates the law. An examination of the history of his family business uncovered a web of illegal and fraudulent practices stretching from Earth to Mars. The man seems to believe he’s some sort of a mafia don. But with a very fragile ego. He can’t – and won’t – tell the truth even when it benefits him. He has a truth allergy. His default position is the lie. Even worse, he has dictatorial genes. He loves Russia’s Putin, the irrational Saudi Crown Prince accused of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Philippines brutal strongman Rodrigo Durtete, and many other crazies. But he passionately hates the revered Mr Obama. Fifth, there’s the little matter of Mr Putin having helped Trump get elected. Imagine that – actually Russia got its man in the White House. That’s what Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating. From what I can see, the noose is tightening around Trump’s neck. People closest to him have been convicted, or are have turned state’s evidence, what he calls “rats,” to save their hides. Who’s next in Trump’s orbit?  Perhaps his children? The walls are collapsing around him. That’s why late morning tweetstorms have become his staple. Already, Trump’s own Justice Department concluded in a court filing in a New York Court that he’s committed a felony. That’s a first in US history. 

Finally, the removal of an American President from office is usually a political act – not a straight legal question. Justice Department guidelines reject a criminal indictment of a sitting President. It’s not unconstitutional to indict him, but it’s not been done in America as a matter of departmental discretion. This leaves impeachment in the House and a trial in the Senate as the only real option. Democrats retook the House in November and will likely impeach him. The Senate will try and either acquit or convict him.

- The writer is SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of KHRC. @makaumutua

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