May 29, 2024

One president at a time

In Other Words

“To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE AND DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”

This threat, in caps, appeared on social media after news broke Iran planned to retaliate for an Israeli strike against their embassy. The threat was not made by the President of the United States, but by the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Careless, menacing language like that would obviously not be appropriate nor wise for a president to use. Administration officials don’t interact with foreign countries via social media, and professional diplomats don’t talk that way.

This is what happens when candidates not in the know, think they know what’s going on. It’s what happens when candidates not involved in diplomatic talks, talk too much. For someone not in office, with no authority to threaten or take action on behalf of the United States, making such a threat to an enemy of the United States, is not smart. And it’s probably a violation of the Logan Act.

The Logan Act is a U. S. federal law that criminalizes negotiations by unauthorized American citizens with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States. The intent behind the act is to prevent unauthorized negotiations from undermining the government’s position.

The fact there was little reaction to this violation of the Logan Act tells us how far removed from the norm we are in today’s political world. Everyone has become so accustomed to unprecedented words and actions by the former president, we’re rarely shocked anymore, and we don’t seem to expect any consequences.

The unwritten policy that politics ends at the shores of the United States has long gone by the wayside. Americans standing behind our president when enemies threaten, isn’t honored so much anymore. There are several GOP members more aligned with the Russian president than they are with the American president. They vehemently refuse to help our close ally, Ukraine. When Speaker Mike Johnson traveled to Mar-A-Lago recently, he evidently felt he needed to consult with his party’s standard-bearer before making any attempt to govern.

It’s like having a president in exile, and it’s not healthy. Trump stopped the bill to solve problems at the southern border, and confused the Republican response on aid to Ukraine.

Speaker Johnson had never voted to fund Ukraine, and he held up critical new funding for nearly six months. Suddenly last week, he changed his mind and brought forth bills to fund Ukraine, Israel and Tawain that passed almost immediately. It took far too long for Johnson to act and caused immense suffering in Ukraine, but in the end, he listened to intelligence reports and courageously allowed Democrats to help end the impasse. More Democrats voted with the Republican Speaker than did members of his own party.

The Republican Party still supports Trump despite his numerous indictments - even if he’s convicted on some charges before the November election. Like lemmings, they allow him to shape their politics and lead their party over the cliff. The worry is they’ll take America over the cliff with them, unless everyone starts paying attention to the actual consequences of another Trump presidency.

The United States has suffered through trying times during its 250 years as a nation but these times are not only unprecedented, they are extraordinary. Today, American democracy is under threat for our very existence as a constitutional government – perhaps the worst since the Civil War.

This is not hyperbole. More than 40 former officials from the Trump administration are warning about the danger of Trump regaining the presidency. Republicans need to listen.

Voters must listen to the frightening words coming from the mouths of Trump and his extreme advisors, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn and Jason Miller. They’re telling us every day how they plan to change America if they win back the presidency, but not for the good. Would Republicans even try to stop them?

If Trump is elected, our allies are preparing to go their own way without America. They watched our struggle to fund Ukraine and now fear the U.S. might not be there for them.