Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

Trump Isn’t Here to Serve the People

| Sep. 01, 2020

He has shown that we need new laws to constrain an executive who seeks unchecked power.

Desperate to salvage his presidency, Donald Trump is incitingracial violence by encouraging armed vigilantes to confront protesters angry over the killing and maiming of unarmed Black people by the police. The president is stoking civil conflict to distract voters from his failed leadership and strengthen his electoral prospects.

Deadly as it is, Mr. Trump’s latest tactic reflects his view of the presidency as the tool of one man. Rather than serve the people, Mr. Trump is trying to extend his time in office while undermining any constraints on his power.

Across the executive branch, Mr. Trump and his appointees have flouted long-honored norms and violated laws with relative impunity. They have succeeded largely because Senate Republicans have sacrificed oversight and accountability on the altar of subservience to this president so long as it preserves their majority control.

Under Donald Trump, the abuses have touched almost every corner of government, suggesting the president views democracy itself as his opponent.

Throughout the Republican National Convention, the president and senior officials blatantly violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from engaging in political activities on the job. From holding the event on White House grounds with cheering uniformed federal law enforcement officers in attendance, and staging a naturalization ceremony as a campaign event with participants used as unwitting political props, to his secretary of state violating departmental rules by delivering a campaign speech from Jerusalem, Mr. Trump has defiled the presidency for political gain.

Disdainful of the human consequences of the pandemic, Mr. Trump has demanded less testing, while the White House coronavirus task force recently pressured the C.D.C. to discourage testing asymptomatic persons exposed to the virus and to stop directly gathering critical data on Covid-related hospitalizations. Mr. Trump similarly bullied the F.D.A. administrator into hyping the benefits of convalescent plasma treatment and, potentially, rushing a European vaccine into use before completing standard Phase 3 trials in the United States.

Meanwhile, the State Department and numerous federal agencies routinely defy congressional subpoenas. Five departmental watchdogs have been fired for investigating accusations of administration malfeasance, while whistle-blowers like the Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his brother have been harassed and denied promotions.

The commander in chief intervenes improperly in military justice, redeeming war criminals at the expense of discipline and unit cohesion. Mr. Trump’s Commerce Department has curtailed the census amid a pandemic in an apparent attempt to undercount poor and minority communities. His crony managers have kneecapped the Post Office to undermine mail-in voting.

The president has also corrupted the sacred powers designed to protect the American people and our national security.

  – Via The New York Times.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Rice, Susan.“Trump Isn’t Here to Serve the People.” The New York Times, September 1, 2020.

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