When Donald Trump announced that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City and no one would do anything we should have been forewarned that he seriously thought he was above the law. Now it seems there is a video which plays at some hard-core Trump campaign events at Mar-a-Lago and online which shows the president mowing down journalists and political opponents. There are countries whose leaders feel they are above the law. But our Constitution forbids it, makes clear we are a nation of laws. And no man or woman is above the law, even the president. So how will history treat the Republicans currently serving in Congress and the U.S. Senate who continue to blink away Trump’s transgressions? What will their children and grandchildren feel when they read history’s verdict ?
“It is remarkable that no Republican lawmakers have manifested similar courage (such as the fired past ambassador to Ukraine who was willing to testify despite threats to her future career and possibly much more) when all they have to lose is $174,000 in salary and free parking at the Reagan National Airport.” — Thomas Friedman, The New York Times 10/16/19.
Trump has become the supreme commander of foreign policy which should give us all pause. He makes decisions unilaterally without knowledge, without talking to experienced staff and he is at the mercy of those more crafty. He loves foreign dictators (they also think they are above the law) but is usually co-opted by them. Kim Jong Un of North Korea (great friend of Trump’s) is building a nuclear based submarine fleet which can devastate us and our allies. Putin just keeps winning. On interfering in U.S. elections, on dismantling Europe and NATO, and in increasing his power on the world stage. Erdogan, of Turkey, is just the latest to pull a fast one on the president. In a phone conversation between the two, Trump allowed himself to give in to the Turkish dictator’s wish to demolish the Kurds. Now we have thousands of our former allies, the Kurds, dead, the loss of faith in the United States as an ally, the strengthening of Syrian dictator Assad in the region, the entrance of Russian and Iran, the reemergence of ISIS. Trump replies that he promised to bring all troops home from the Middle East at the same time he is sending thousands to Saudi Arabia. But he points out, Saudi Arabia is paying us to do their dirty work. Even though some Republicans have spoken out against this, they still pledge allegiance to the alliance buster in chief. What do their children and grandchildren think? Can they face history’s harsh decree?
If you think Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a big part of the problem you may want to send a few dollars to Amy McGrath. She is his Democratic challenger in Kentucky and a former Marine fighter pilot. She will be in the area next month for a fundraiser. You can check her out at amymcgrath.com.
Startling news that Draeger’s has sold its property in downtown San Mateo to a real estate firm. The Draeger family says it will maintain its food store and it will be a huge loss for the city if it does not. Draeger’s is responsible for the renewal of downtown. When Draeger’s took a chance on San Mateo and bought the empty Levy Brothers site and turned it into its main store with a restaurant, cooking school, gift shop and its famous deli and bakery and European style grocery, it inspired Walgreens to take over the empty lot on Third Avenue. Then the Syufy brothers who once owned Century Theatres decided to open a downtown cinema. And the rest is history. Downtown is bustling. People fill the streets day and early evening. There are 141 restaurants downtown. And, always a good sign for a vibrant downtown, there is not enough parking.
Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her column runs every Monday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.