Poli-ticks

Arlene Violet: It's time to end the Trump welfare checks

By Arlene Violet
Posted 1/20/21

As former president Donald Trump exits the White House he leaves behind a legacy of polarization fanned by his inflammatory rhetoric. Economic inequality has never been greater as the tax laws and …

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Poli-ticks

Arlene Violet: It's time to end the Trump welfare checks

Posted

As former president Donald Trump exits the White House he leaves behind a legacy of polarization fanned by his inflammatory rhetoric. Economic inequality has never been greater as the tax laws and the decimation of regulations continue to benefit Mr. Trump and his wealthy friends. Not only has his handling of the pandemic been botched but also his behavior has led many to shun masks and social distancing as a badge of honor, as his followers shirk social responsibility. Science has been scorned and the environment has been threatened with his decimation of EPA regulations.
Then came his encouragement to his acolytes to storm the Capitol. This was no slip of the tongue since he has been building his autocracy from day one in office. Anyone objective cannot deny that he incited the crowd to start the siege following his false dirge that the election had been stolen from him. His sedition should result in the forfeiture of his taxpayer financed perks for the rest of his life.

Certainly, Mr. Trump has profited greatly during his term in office from the taxpayers’ largesse. Starting with his inauguration, the ballrooms in his D.C. hotel were “rented” out at top dollar while other meeting rooms were leased by donors for various receptions. His secret service contingent was housed in his many properties, particularly Mar-A-Lago, when it was closed to the public. Room rates were quadrupled at his D.C. hotel as foreign dignitaries and local lobbyists filled the rooms to curry favor. The gravy train now should come to a halt.

Given the dangerous precedent of the “forgive and forget” modality to a person who incited rioting, the cost of subsidizing him for the rest of his life is unconscionable as the figure would mount into the high millions of dollars. He could receive a $200,000 a year stipend and a million dollars annually for travel. Taxpayers would have to fund his office and his staff. Mrs. Trump would be eligible for a pension. A vote for impeachment begins this stripping of the post-presidential freebies.

Further, the 14th Amendment should be invoked to bar him for future office. Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment which bans someone from holding office if he is found to have “engaged in” insurrection and rebellion against the Constitution of the United States. Congress should pass legislation to prevent him from having an encore.

No doubt the Trump supporters have steam coming out of their ears by now. Their man in the White House could do no wrong. They have accepted hook, line and sinker his patter of never-ending lies as to his accomplishments. They still patter on about Antifa causing the riots and daring to compare the Black Lives Matter movement to the hoodlums who stormed the Capitol.

Their hero, Mr. Trump, has set this country down a path of institutional subversion, endemic graft, and hatred of immigrants and fellow citizens of color. An old issue of The Atlantic noted that the benefit of anarchistic control is less the power to persecute the innocent but more the power to protect the guilty. His pardons prove that reality.

Let’s not further reward him for the desecration of American ideals by post-presidential perks.

Arlene Violet is an attorney and former Rhode Island Attorney General.

Arlene Violet

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.