You may have noticed that I have purposely avoided mention of Donald Trump in this space since he was sworn in as President of the United States. For those suffering from Trump Withdrawal Syndrome, this one’s for you.
The traditional 100 days by which a President is first judged has passed. Reactions are mixed. His fans still love him. His opponents are still appalled. They can’t believe he won the election, and they can’t believe he is doing what he promised.
Making good on the promises has surprised me too. I didn’t think Candidate Trump would be unchanged as President. I had thought it was all a carefully calculated persona designed to win votes and that once elected he would be pretty much like every other politician. Turns out I was wrong.
I won’t give a recap of all the various presidential miscues of the past four months. The president and his supporters don’t see them as miscues; he would just label anything I say as “fake news,” which by definition appears to be anything Donald Trump doesn’t agree with.
I feel though, based on what we have seen so far, that it is time to make a prediction about the direction of the Trump presidency.
Donald Trump will be impeached. He has shown a complete disregard for how the American system of government works. He appears to think the office of President is a republican equivalent of an absolute monarchy. Apparently, as far as he is concerned the law doesn’t apply to him and he can do what he likes.
It doesn’t work that way in reality though. The United States, for all its flaws, is a constitutional democracy. The impeachment process allows the legislature to remove a president for certain behaviour. Trump is old enough to have lived through the experience of two presidents dealing with impeachment proceedings, though neither was removed. The one who probably would have been convicted, Richard Nixon, been stepped down rather than face a trial. The other, Bill Clinton, was acquitted.
So what about Donald Trump? By removing the head of the FBI when the agency is possibly investigating Trump’s actions during the 2016 election campaign, Trump has given his opponents all that they need to start proceedings. Certainly the action looks to a layperson like a clear cut case of obstruction of justice, which is an impeachable offence.
However, there is no requirement that impeachment proceedings start immediately. Lawmakers may wait for a while. They may decide to allow him the time make more moves that would bolster their case that he is unfit to be president.
No matter when I am sure impeachment proceedings are coming. The Republicans may control both Houses of Congress, but many in his own party have no great love for the President. To me the big question would be whether Donald Trump will resign the presidency or be removed from office. Although he might try and have all the Members of Congress who oppose him arrested. Just wildly choosing a number, I would guess he has about six months before impeachment proceedings become something he has to really worry about. I could be wrong about that, but I am not wrong about this: At some point he is going to tweet that the whole process is “very very unfair.”
From my vantage point it appears impeachment is inevitable unless Donald Trump stops acting like he is above the law. Given his track record so far, I don’t expect that to happen.