You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

COMMENTARY: No, Trump can’t just do what he wants


Two issues are paramount in American politics. The first is whether President Trump will get away with his arrogant dismissal of the public’s right to a transparent government free of corrupting conflicts of interest. The second is whether those who would hold him to account remain focused, mobilized and determined.

They are related. There are many reasons to stand against Trump, but the one that should take precedence — because it is foundational for decent governance — is his autocratic assumption that he is above the expectations that apply to us normal humans.

Should Trump separate himself completely from his business interests, as presidents had been doing for more than four decades? His implicit message is always: No, I can do what I want.

Should he release his income tax returns so the public can see where conflicts might exist — including whether he will benefit from his own tax proposals? No, he says, I can do what I want.

Should he continue President Obama’s practice of making the White House visitors’ log public so all can know who might be influencing his policies? No, he says, I can do what I want — including shutting down access to those logs and telling citizens to go stuff it if they claim any right to know what’s going on in the building they collectively own.

MORE COMMENTARY FROM Kathleen Parker: Social media now: Murder while you watch

Should he stop turning the presidency into a permanent and profitable vacation by spending one out of every five minutes at Mar-a-Lago or a nearby golf course, as The Washington Post’s Philip Bump reported? Should we know the full cost of his gallivanting and how many of the millions of dollars involved are circulating back to his family through the charges Trump’s resorts impose on the government? No, he says, I can do what I want.

Should we know why it is that, according to the Post’s Greg Miller, Trump “appears increasingly isolated within his own administration” in calling for warmer relations with Russia even as almost everyone else in his government issues “blistering critiques of Moscow”? Should he disclose details of his business ties to Russian interests and oligarchs? Should he stop resisting investigations into whether his campaign was complicit in Russia’s interference in the election that made him president? No, he says, I can do what I want.

And then there was Sunday’s referendum in Turkey (whose outcome the opposition says was rigged) that narrowly approved constitutional changes giving President Recep Erdogan nearly authoritarian powers. Did Trump express concern about democracy? Nope. He called Erdogan to congratulate him. Why?

READ THIS: Principles of the Trump foreign policy doctrine

Asked about Turkey in a December 2015 interview with, of all people, Steve Bannon — now his chief strategist who back then hosted a show on Breitbart — Trump admitted: “I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul.” He also described Erdogan as “a strong leader” and added: “I thrive on complicated.” Should we be able to know how Trump was influenced by his “complicated” Turkish interests, including his “major, major” project? No, he says, I can do what I want.

And a last question: If Hillary Clinton had done any one of the things described above, is there any doubt about what Republicans in Congress would be saying and doing? As long as all but an honorable few Republicans remain silent, GOP leaders will be miring their party in the muck of Trump’s norm-breaking. No, they are saying, he can do what he wants.

This is why only pressure from an engaged and resolute citizenry must send a clear message to the president: No, you can’t just do what you want in crushing transparency and blurring all lines between your own interests and the public’s.

It’s said that Trump always skates away. Not true. Those he ripped off in his Trump University scam stuck with the fight and forced Trump to settle a lawsuit he said (typical of his approach) he would never settle. The country’s citizens can prevail, too, if we insist on calling out a self-absorbed huckster who treats us all as easily bamboozled fools.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Letters: How can Mast deny health care for already sick people?

First, I want to state clearly that I thank U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, for his service to our country. It is very unfortunate that he suffered an injury while in service to our country. I believe we owe him health care for his injury for the rest of his life. Second, I am a cardiovascular surgical advanced practice nurse. Brian Mast’s...
Christie commentary: The lost art of balancing a checkbook
Christie commentary: The lost art of balancing a checkbook

You know, sometimes I think the Florida Legislature is just one big tease. For years now, they’ve played with my emotions when it comes requiring a financial literacy course for the state’s public high school students. Time and again, I’ve written, begged and pleaded for one measly half-credit class. Why? Because there’s not...
Editorial: First 100 days not even close to making America great
Editorial: First 100 days not even close to making America great

For 100 days the United States of America has been led by a one-of-a-kind president — a billionaire intent on dominating each day’s news cycle, his eyes on Fox News and his thumbs on his Twitter feed. A president who constantly reverses himself, uttering whatever story benefits him at the moment; who has spent nearly one-fifth of his time...
POINT OF VIEW Teachers benefit from professional coaching

Laura Tomas doesn’t look like a stereotypical coach. She doesn’t pace the sideline during basketball games or wear a whistle on a lanyard around her neck. But Tomas, a veteran teacher at Orchard View Elementary in Delray Beach, is a coach just the same – an academic coach trained to support other teachers and up their game. The idea...
Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon: April 30
Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon: April 30

CARTOON VIEW CHAN LOWE
More Stories