New York Times opinion columnist David Leonhardt wrote a piece titled The People vs. Donald J. Trump, which has been getting a lot of attention. In his column, Leonhardt argues that we have to get rid of Trump because he is unfit to be president.
It has nothing to do with Trump’s political ideology or his policies, Leonhardt writes. You shouldn’t impeach a president just because you disagree with him politically. That’s what elections are for. Impeachment should be used only as the country’s founders intended when a president commits “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Under that Constitutional standard, Leonhardt writes, Trump has to go. Trump has mixed up his political position with his private businesses. He is using the presidency to enrich his hotels and other interests. This is especially corrupt when foreign governments do business with Trump properties in order to gain political advantages, which violates the now-famous “emoluments clause” of the Constitution.
Trump also broke campaign finance laws. In sentencing documents, Trump was named as “Individual-1” who directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to make hush-money payments, for which Cohen was convicted of felonies and sentenced to prison.
Trump obstructed justice many times while trying to stop the Mueller investigation, including when he fired former F.B.I. Director James Comey and when he forced former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. Trump also lied to the public many times about the investigation.
We must act now, Leonhardt says, before it is too late. We can’t wait until there is a national crisis, such as a devastating natural disaster, a financial collapse, or a massive terrorist attack. If any of those things happen, we can’t afford to be without a competent leader in charge. We must prepare for the worst by getting rid of Trump now.
Impeaching Trump will be challenging, Leonhardt concludes, but it can be done. He thinks that the best strategy is to convince Republicans in the Senate that abandoning Trump is in their own political self-interest. The way to do that is not by starting impeachment proceedings in the House now, which could cause Trump’s supporters to dig in deeper. Instead, House Democrats should hold a series of hearings on Trump’s misbehaviors.
When Republican voters stop supporting Trump, Republican Senators will do the same. At that point, impeachment becomes possible. Or there could be other alternatives, such as negotiating with Trump to resign. Either way, Trump will be gone.