Rage against a president who was just doing his job.
Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center
The latest in a series of “scandals” that supposedly will finally banish President Trump from the White House has provoked the latest in a series of outbursts from NeverTrump obsessives. Allegations that the president, during a phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, abused his power, violated campaign finance laws, or sullied an upcoming American election by inviting foreign interference, precipitated the latest dudgeon-fest. No one seemed to care that the release of the conversation’s transcript, and the exculpatory protestations of Ukraine’s president have already deflated the “scandal” like a stomped soufflé.
We still have to hear homilies from the Church of NeverTrump, once again trying to turn the president’s blunt, take-no-prisoners, what-you-see-is-what-you-get style into a Constitutional crisis. In fact, Trump was elected because enough voters rejected the vision of politics as the purview of technocratic elites who define “democratic norms,” “presidential decorum,” and “political normality” in terms that happen to suit their tastes, interests, and prejudices.
For them, Trump’s discussion with Zelensky with its alleged implied quid-pro-quo was outrageously out of bounds and unprecedented. So let’s see, the Constitution gives the president wide authority to conduct foreign policy, including interactions with other heads of state. It does not specify by what rules of manners and diplomacy he do so. His only job is to see to the national interests and security of the United States, using whatever tools––except for undeclared war––he finds will achieve those aims.
That is a necessarily broad remit, because interactions with foreign governments involve all manner of leaders, from totalitarian to democratic, and all manner of personalities. Sometimes a carrot is useful, other times a stick. One carrot the U.S. possesses, especially as the world’s most consequential and necessary power, is foreign aid, grants, and loans. There is nothing wrong with leveraging this money and encouraging a foreign leader to reciprocate by proving a service that is deemed necessary for the president to protect our security and interests.