Much is being said about the pros and cons of invoking the 25th Amendment, a second impeachment and prosecution under federal sedition acts to demonstrate once and for all, no individual, especially the president of the United States, is above the law. Among the arguments against these courses are action, especially ones that would result in Donald Trump’s imprisonment, is concern that they will further divide an already bisected nation.
However, there are two alternatives which have received little or no attention. Forget the Constitutional solutions which are cumbersome and require more than simple majority votes. Instead, prosecute, indict and try Trump for all the statutory crimes he has committed related to his behavior both as president and as crime boss of the Trump Organization. These could include sedition, bribery, campaign violations, tax evasion, bank fraud, securities fraud and mail fraud. If convicted, the presiding judge in each case should sentence Trump to all appropriate fines and jail terms. Then and only then should President Biden, in the name of national unity, not pardon, but commute all prison sentences leaving the fines in place and preventing Trump, as a convicted felon, from voting until all court costs, fines and restitution are paid. (NOTE: There would be a certain level of schadenfreude to watch Trump, now that he claims to be a Florida resident, have to comply with the law passed by the Florida legislature and signed by Governor DeSantis which undercut the will of the voters to restore voting rights to felons who had served their sentences.)
The second alternative would relieve American taxpayers of ever having to further underwrite the grifter-in-chief after leaving office. It is based on provisions of the military code which deny any member of the armed forces, subject to a dishonorable discharge, access to any veteran benefits. The same should be true for the commander-in-chief. Therefore, Trump could be stripped of all the benefits under the Former President Act of 1958. This would include:
- Annual pension of $219,000/year.
- Transition expenses for seven months.
- Private staff and office funding up to $150,000 per year for the first 30 months and $96,000 thereafter
- Medical treatment at military hospitals.
- Secret service protection for 10 years.
Since these benefits are provided by law, an exception in this case would only require an act of Congress by a majority vote in each house signed by President Biden.
Presidential Medal of Shame
I have never been a fan of Bill Belichick. Just two weeks ago, I reveled in the fact the New England Patriots failed to make the NFL playoffs this year. But my past feelings about coach Belichick are no match for the admiration and respect I now have for him following his decision not to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the nation’s traitor-in-chief. I hope President Biden, at some future date, bestows this honor on him, not for his accomplishments on the gridiron, but for his action this week off the field.
I wish I could say the same for Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam who attended a private ceremony last Thursday to accept their medals. LAST THURSDAY!! Less than 24 hours after Trump fomented an attack on the U.S. Capitol. If either have the audacity to display their award in their homes or offices, I encourage every American who visits those locations to simply say, “Oh, is that the Medal of Freedom you received from Donald Trump the day after he launched an armed attack against a building on top of which stands the STATUE OF FREEDOM. How ironic!” If Player and Sorenstam had any appreciation for the country in which they have both had the opportunity to practice their craft and profit from it, they would return the medals IMMEDIATELY. For those medals are no longer a badge of honor, but the equivalent of a “Scarlet C” for complicity.
Welcome Lisa Murkowski
On Saturday, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski joined the ranks of those who called for Trump’s immediate removal from office. Although elected as a write-in candidate after losing the Republican nomination to Tea Party candidate Joe Miller in 2016, Murkowski remained a member of the Republican party. However, that may change if, as she said, the party continues to be beholden to Trump.
Now, I do not expect Murkowski to register as a Democrat, but she should be welcomed to join the party caucus as have independents Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. In fact, any Senator who no longer wishes to be associated with the party of lies, conspiracy theories and insurrection would like the same offer, they should be welcome.
Now I know what some of you are going to say. This will be a slap in the face of progressive members of the caucus. But imagine this scenario: a Democratic caucus that consists of 60 or more members ranging in ideology from center right to far left. That has always been the coalition which has been responsible for evolutionary advances in civil rights, sound economic policy and rational foreign engagement. It is a coalition that is close enough in constitutional principle yet broad enough in ideology to become the best hope for compromise and accommodation of a wide range of thoughtful, fact-based solutions to the problems we, as a nation, now face.
If there is room in the party for pro-life Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, there is room in the caucus for Murkowski, Pat Toomey, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and any other Republican turned independent. And, if it would help, maybe it is time to drop the label Democratic Party. After this week, it might as well be called the Constitutional Party with the American Eagle as its mascot. Let the others call themselves whatever they want. But make no mistake, from January 6th onward they will be known as the Sedition Party with Donald Trump as their mascot.
For what it’s worth.