As many of my longtime readers know, Trump became absolutely, positively dead to me when he plastered Jorge Ramos’ private cell number on Instagram. A man that reckless with someone’s confidential information is a man who is manifestly unfit to hold any office.
Trump’s surprise visit to Iraq provided a staggering reminder of what happens when such a reckless man is entrusted with the presidency. While turning a surprise visit to troops stationed in Iraq into a photo op, Trump saw fit to reveal the location of a SEAL team on a covert mission.
The more I’ve thought about it today, the angrier I’ve gotten. And that would be true even if I wasn’t the nephew of a veteran and the cousin of two more. The president of the United States may have put people involved in a covert operation in danger of being compromised or worse by a hostile actor. By doing so, he made all his bleating and screeting about taking a knee, as well as his professed love for military might, sound like so much hot air.
My blood boiled even further when one of my longtime friends, himself a vet, revealed just how outrageous this was. By showing the SEALs on his now-infamous Twitter video, Trump “was giving away personnel”—and with it, “unit information.”
This is way, way beyond just an “oops.” If a White House staffer did this, he or she would be fired. If a lawmaker from either party did this, he or she would be told—not asked—to resign or face expulsion. Why should the president be allowed to keep his job when he does something similar?
I know that on paper, the president has the right to unilaterally declassify information. But I see a parallel with one of the more infamous anecdotes of the Jerry Sandusky saga—how some of the main actors hid behind a Pennsylvania law of the time that required any state employee who knew about child abuse to report it to their immediate supervisor. In this case, when receivers coach Mike McQueary saw Sandusky molesting a boy in the shower, he reported it to his immediate supervisor, Joe Paterno. In turn, Paterno reported it to his immediate supervisor, athletic director Tim Curley. However, Paterno was rightly criticized for not reporting it to police himself, or at the very least seeing to it that it was reported. Remember, when the Penn State board of trustees rejected Paterno’s offer to finish out the 2011 season and instead ordered him to leave immediately, it found that his decision to merely act within the letter of the law amounted to a failure of leadership.
This is no different. By any standard, revealing the identities of those SEALs was an egregious and inexcusable lapse in judgment by Trump. And in my view, it amounts to an impeachable offense. If such reckless disregard for the safety of our men in uniform isn’t a high crime or misdemeanor, it damned well should be.
Here’s how I’d word the article:
In his conduct while president of the United States, Donald John Trump, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duties to serve as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, did willfully, recklessly and without lawful cause or excuse reveal the identities of Navy SEALs involved in a covert operation.
Donald John Trump, by revealing the identities of these SEALs, put them in undue and unnecessary danger and showed reckless disregard for their safety.
In doing this, Donald John Trump has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute upon the presidency and the United States, and has acted in a manner subversive of law and justice and grossly derelict of his duties as Commander in Chief, to the manifest injury of the United States.
Wherefore, by such conduct, Donald John Trump warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.
And I’d be saying this if a Democratic president did this. The safety of our men and women in uniform is not and should not be a partisan issue, and anyone who recklessly endangers them in this way is not fit for office. Period, full stop.
As if it wasn’t clear already, Trump has forfeited any moral authority to remain in office. In a sane world, this latest stunt should have been the last straw. He needs to resign and he needs to resign now, while he can at least appear to be leaving decently. Failing that, this should be yet one more item for any impeachment inquiry led by Jerry Nadler and the Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Trump, you have dishonored and disgraced your office in what may be the most egregious manner yet. It is time for your to resign. Resign now, sir!