Beyond repugnant. Corrupt human tornado. Cheap extortion racket. Unpatriotic. Un-American. Abuse of power. America is better than this.
These are some of the words of outrage expressed by prominent people describing US President Donald Trump’s phone call to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he asked the newly elected Ukrainian leader to dig for potentially damaging material on political rival former Vice President Joe Biden apparently in exchange for lifting the suspension on the release of $400-million military aid to his country.
The remarks were also in reaction to Trump’s nasty tweets following the revelation of the formal whistleblower complaint filed by an intelligence officer, who claimed that the President used his office to “solicit interference from a foreign country” to help himself in next year’s election.
Two of these remarks came from key Republicans. After Trump raised the possibility of violence if he is removed from office echoing a pastor’s warning of a “Civil War-like” fracture if Trump is impeached, Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger described Trump’s tweets as “beyond repugnant.” He said he “never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President.”
Former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said: “My fellow Republicans, it is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles. Whether you believe the president deserves impeachment, you know he does not deserve re-election. Our country will have more presidents. But principles, well, we get just one crack at those. For those who want to put America first, it is critically important at this moment in the life of our country that we all, here and now, do just that.”
The “stable genius” President has shown, in the words of Biden, that he is “desperate and defensive” when, in quick succession, he claimed that the whistleblower is a spy and committed treason and insinuated that he should be executed; that House intelligence committee chief Rep. Adam Schiff should be arrested for treason and be prosecuted; and repeating the pastor’s quote on “Civil War-like fracture.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated despite the former winning the popular vote, called Trump a “corrupt human tornado.” Like Biden, Clinton apparently is also a victim of foreign interference in the 2016 elections based on the Mueller report that showed Russia provided the Trump campaign with damaging info in hacked emails.
Earlier, Clinton accused Trump of having “turned American diplomacy into a cheap extortion racket.”
“Now sadly we’ve known who Donald Trump is for some time now,” Clinton said. “We knew he was a corrupt businessman who cheated people. We knew that he and his campaign invited foreign adversaries to tamper with our elections. And now we know that in the course of his duties as president, he’s endangered us all by putting his personal and political interests ahead of the interests of the American people.”
During the campaign and in his first three years in office, Trump excited his followers by saying he would put “America first” and “Make America Great Again.”
But as shown by his controversial call to Zelensky, it was obvious that it is “Me first. America second.”
The State Department, the defense establishment, and Congress have all agreed that helping Ukraine in its conflict with Russia is to the best interest of the United States, that’s why the US has been sending millions of dollars to the former Soviet republic. But Trump set this aside by withholding the release of the $400 million aid prior to the Zelensky call. He told Zelensky during the call that he would release the amount but added, “I would like you to do us a favor though.”
This is not the first time Trump has been accused of using his position as leader of the world’s most powerful nation for his personal interests. In the Ukraine call, he obviously put personal interest above national interest by pressuring a foreign country to damage his strongest political rival.
New York Times columnist David Leonhardt explained why Trump should be impeached, aside from the Unkraine call, “What hasn’t changed? Trump is unfit for office. He has repeatedly violated his oath of office, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. He has weakened America’s national security. He has used the presidency for personal enrichment. He has broken the law more than once. He has tried to undermine American democracy.”
Trump is a threat to America and to the world. He has relinquished America’s role as leader of the free world. He has destabilized the Middle East by pulling out of the nuclear agreement with Iran and by showing extreme bias towards Israel and prejudice against Muslims. He has abandoned America’s role as leader in the war against climate change by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and ignoring carbon emission laws. He has created chaos in the global economy by withdrawing from trade agreements and by intensifying his trade war with China and other nations. He has gone against long-held American values such as welcoming immigrants and refugees, justice and equality, and freedom of the press, and has instead promoted bigotry and racism.
Trump does not deserve another four years, not even another year in office. America deserves a better leader.
Mr. Abelgas is a former editor of Manila Standard. He now lives in the United States.