Republicans need to get with the program

By Arlene Violet
Posted 10/18/19

The Providence Journal posed the following inquiry to leading Rhode Island Republicans:Do you think President Trump did/said anything inappropriate in his conversation with the president of the …

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Republicans need to get with the program


The Providence Journal posed the following inquiry to leading Rhode Island Republicans:

Do you think President Trump did/said anything inappropriate in his conversation with the president of the Ukraine….Do you think that the allegations in the now-public whistleblower complaint should be investigated by Congress? Do you believe a House impeachment inquiry is warranted?

Do you believe the president should be impeached? Yes/No: Why? (Providence Journal 10/7/19)

With the exception of Steve Frias who gave a nuanced answer and Gary Sasse who opined that there appears to be sufficient grounds for the impeachment inquiry, most Republicans either said “no” or remained silent. In the latter sense the state Republicans mirror the national Republicans who have their heads in the sand.

The Republicans don’t have to be Mensa members to understand that the president’s request of assistance from the Ukraine and Chinese governments is not only wildly inappropriate but also undermines our system of government. Putting aside the very real issue of the criminality of such requests, clearly the president’s enlisting of the political rival of the United States to help him win re-election is over the top. His summoning of such aid, along with his acknowledgement, earlier this month, that he told the Russian ambassador and foreign minister to the United States that he had no problem with Russian interference in the 2016 election while they were in the Oval office, is grossly wrong.

The Republicans on any level are not credible in claiming that there was no quid pro quo between Mr. Trump and the Ukraine President. With the release of the text messages between State Department officials, the President dangled a White House visit in exchange for an investigation. Holding back aid need not be articulated since it was a fact at the time. Most importantly, the president is now saying he has the absolute right to investigate “corruption” that would include asking or suggesting to other countries to help out. Would that he had the same attitude at the beginning of his term when China bent over backwards to award licensing rights to Ivanka Trump, his daughter, for her fashion line.

What has happened to Republicans? At the national level they have retreated into the “country be dammed” mode because they don’t want to be primaried. Indeed, Mr. Trump has them whipped into servitude with his warning that he will support any republican opponent who challenges an incumbent who defies him. Why these supposed public servants are so selfish as to put themselves about the Constitution is truly pathetic and a threat to democracy. Senate Chief Mitch McConnell is as weak as his jawline.

This issue isn’t about one man, i.e. the president, who is drunk on power. He is a threat to the fiber of this country’s backbone. The 3 branches of government are out of alignment.

As usual, I expect that this column will be scorned by the Trump supporters who see no evil, say no evil or hear no evil. Mr. Trump has done some good things in office but his definition of the power of the presidency dwarfs those accomplishments. He is bordering on dictatorship and his republican allies are egging on his grandiose sense of himself. Would that folks could discern the right from the wrong.

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

Arlene Violet

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Jim McGaw

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.