Curious About How This Goes

By

Leonard Zwelling

I think most Americans, whether pro-Trump or anti-Trump, want to get to the bottom of what he’s up to with regard to promises he has made to foreign leaders and in exchange for what. Is the President of the United States beholding to other countries and, if so, which ones and why?

Many are more than willing to believe that holding up foreign aid to an ally in exchange for the ally’s help with domestic politics is nothing new. That may well be true. If so, let’s see the evidence.

We know that JFK got the missiles out of Cuba partly in exchange for removing our own missiles from Turkey six months later under the cloak of secrecy. Keeping it under wraps surely helped keep his job approval ratings high with the American people.

Richard Nixon, even before he was elected, tried to assure the Vietnamese in the south that they would get a better deal in a settlement with the north after he took office. That advanced Nixon’s run to the White House in 1968. What was that worth?

Barack Obama told the Russian President in 2012 that he would be in a better position to negotiate with Russia after his re-election. Open mics can be embarrassing.

So exactly what’s so new about Trump’s deal?

The answer appears to be three-fold.

First, the claim on the left is that there was a direct quid pro quo in the Trump phone call with the Ukraine’s Zelensky and that is illegal. That’s true IF, that is what really happened. To know that may require audiotape which has not been forthcoming although Trump has admitted to doing this.

Second, this is not the first time Trump is getting something of value for his election in an illegal fashion. The $130,000 pay off to Stormy Daniels was something of value to his election that was not revealed until after he was in the White House. He never reported this money as a contribution which he should have done. Of course, we haven’t seen his taxes either so who knows what else he’s done to aid his own election or to whom he may owe money?

Third, the Democrats are desperate to get something on Trump for which they can impeach him. They are gambling that they need it to win in 2020 and without it, they won’t win. Given their current candidates, they have a point. Right now it still looks like Elizabeth Warren is in the lead and I doubt she can beat Trump unless the impeachment takes a really nasty turn. Which it might.

Maybe.

The real issue is has Trump broken the law—yet again. He has clearly violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by making money off his hotels based on his position as the leader of the U.S. government. He’s paid off porn stars as we said. He has displayed dreadful behavior by being a misogynist, a racist, an anti-immigrant bigot and even making fun of the disabled. He just offends the sensibilities of a lot of people, BUT most of those are definitely not impeachable offenses, although the emoluments thing is pretty close.

Like so many things on the horizon, from the fate of the Houston Texans to the future of MD Anderson, I am curious to see how this is going to go. I just can’t get a read on the future based on past performance of the Texans, of the current (and future) leadership of MD Anderson, or the leadership of Donald Trump.

Each step is critical and ought to be considered. In the case of Trump, the question really is have the Democrats overstepped or simply done their Constitutional duty? That is up to the American people to determine. As I said, most thinking Americans don’t know what to think. They are biding their time, taking in the news from various sources, and still trying to figure out how a country as great as this had candidates as poor as the ones we had in 2016. Furthermore, are we going to be any better in 2020? So far, not yet.

I’m curious. Aren’t you?

Leonard Zwelling