By Robert Mann

Watching the president’s swearing-in every four years has always seemed like a civic duty. I have tuned into the broadcasts of 10 inaugurations since 1968. And I’ve attended two others (George H.W. Bush in 1989 and Barack Obama in 2013).

This time, however, it was my moral duty to ignore Donald Trump’s swearing-in. It’s a small act of defiance, but I could not take part in normalizing this abnormal presidency. I could not pretend his swearing-in was anything but a travesty.

I agree with what Eliot A. Cohen, a respected conservative authority on national defense, wrote the other day, “The beginning of wisdom will be to treat his office with respect, but him with none, because it will achieve nothing, and because as a human being he deserves none.”

Trump may legally be the president. He is not legitimate. I’m not arguing that he had no right to take office. Instead, I rely on one widely accepted definition of the word “legitimate” (“in accordance with recognized or accepted patterns and standards”) to assert that Trump is an illegitimate president.

Why? I could cite, for starters, GOP voter suppression efforts in several key states, Trump’s admission of sexual assault, his refusal to release his income taxes and his massive financial conflicts of interest. Much of that makes him ethically bankrupt, if not morally illegitimate.

But one set of facts is more than sufficient to explain Trump’s illegitimacy: His election resulted from what the FBI, CIA and the National Security Agency (and many Republican leaders) consider a brazen, multi-pronged attack on American democracy by Russian President Vladimir Putin. And, they’ve concluded, Putin hacked our election in an attempt to help Trump.

Trump’s associates may or may not have coordinated with Putin. (The FBI and five other federal agencies are reportedly investigating this and other allegations of collusion.) But they were clearly accessories after the fact.

Trump and his staff — several of them with ties to Russia and Putin — knew the intelligence agencies suspected the Russians of hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair. And they celebrated and trumpeted every salacious, ill-gotten detail released by Russia’s online handmaiden, Wikileaks. Trump even encouraged the Russians to hack Clinton’s personal email account.

Whatever the reasons — and I hope the FBI and congressional investigators will uncover them — Trump is deeply indebted to Putin. And it shows. Since his election, he has criticized or attacked President Obama, Clinton, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Rep. John Lewis, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” Meryl Streep and the cast of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.”

He has not whispered an uncharitable word about Putin or Russia.

Continue reading on at this link.

12 thoughts on “Trump owes Putin, big league, and that makes him illegitimate

  1. While I agree in principle as to the total unsuitability of Trump as President, I think it is tough to justify the opinion by widening the more restricting definition of legitimate to something more than simply “legal.” It is like expanding a concept like “rights” to more than is set to written, legal codes. “Natural” rights might parallel your expanded concept of legitimate, and in the end will hold no more sway “natural rights” do for closing an argument.
    But all that, legal or ideal, is usually at the service of the caprice of the powerful anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For once, Mr. Bankson and I agree: we don’t live in some theoretical discussion. We live in a world beset by enough problems to occupy two good presidents, and the only “rights” that matter are those codified into law. You should be ashamed of yourself. Public writers have an intellectual responsible. The former president (how sweet the words!) left a mess that even near history will show might be insurmountable. And he’s coming back. Were I a Democrat who had sat by and watched Barack O’bama undermine the unity that created his election, use his Marxian socialist categories to divide people into hostile groups, and defend Islamic jihadism to the point of calling the Ft. Hood massacre “workplace violence,” thereby precluding funds and awards to the relatives of American military wounded or killed there—well, I think I would be in D.C. right now with a big fire extinguisher. Why don’t you try the old Great Chain of Being argument that John Milton used to justify regicide? But where would you be then? For I don’t think God would consider Ms. Clinton any fitter than the American people found her. It appears you don’t even understand the theory of Natural Rights, let alone know how to apply it. And you are guiding the minds of young people who will go out and become mimes, too, not journalists! Young people who will be doomed to mediocrity because they’ve never been taught to make cases for both sides of an argument and then find a third position, to question, to think rigorously.


    1. The “unity” you feel is a minority of voters and an even smaller minority of all U.S. citizens who think like you. 63 million votes in a country of 350 million. So, those 20% of people have no right to dictate to the other 80%. Legally, one party has amassed a legislative majority, in a large part by disenfranchising, gerrymandering, and gaming the system. But in a referendum of what they are doing with their new plaything, ideologues are vastly outnumbered by good people who oppose their self-serving methods. Increasing the deficit and yanking people’s health insurance is an inauspicious start. But the 20% is still hungover from the party, they don’t realize while they were sleeping they were sold out to Goldman Sachs billionaires in the Trump cabinet.


  3. One thing you have to say about President Trump: He is exactly the person today as he was 5, 10, and 50 years ago and he has not hidden it. The people who supported him got exactly what they voted for – something that clearly distinguishes him from practically every candidate for anything in modern history..

    The thing I have found most surprising today is the number of commentators who are shocked that he did not deliver the “typical presidential inaugural address” – The typical inaugural address is pie-in-the-sky engendering fleeting and false hope. His was not. His was pure Trump.

    Question: If a hypocrite is not hypocritical about being a hypocrite, is he still as hypocrite? That question occurs to me as I contemplate the next 4 years.


  4. I agree with your position on what Trump is but I disagree with how he got there. Screaming at Russia and trying to discredit Wikileaks is a refusal to accept the truth. Truth being Hillary was a failed establishment warrior for the 1% not the voters as confirmed by her emails, period. Attacking Russia (easy) and Wikileaks (messenger) is propaganda from the mouthpiece of old. An old, unresponsive to it’s base, political party screaming for help as it slides into the grave of reality. The slide down could be stopped or reversed with facts and truths but instead it has accelerated downward with the Democratic Party Elite’s continued side message of ‘Russian = bad’ and ‘Wikileaks = bad”. The party simply is in denial and in dire need of an intervention from an addiction to illusions. If we are unable to accept that Wikileaks provided truth and thus acted as a journalist then the democratic party is already gone. I don’t understand why a journalist is attacking another journalist who’s sources have been confirmed as accurate. Bob I respect your work and it is because of my respect that I write this slightly torrid response.


  5. President Trump continues to consistently be the Donald Trump he always was. As I said above, his supporters continue to get exactly what they voted for. Unfortunately, so do the rest of us.


  6. President Donald J. Trump lied to the American people repeatedly by stating he did not think Putin or Russian hackers were responsible for hacking into the United States of America’s government parties and the involvement of Wikileaks . Now understand Trump lied despite being briefed by our intelligence agencies and was told they certainly did hack into our government . Whether you voted for Trump or not is irrelevant but what is relevant is the critical and urgent action the U.S. Congress has to thoroughly investigate the role Donald J. Trump played in his knowing of the breach of our security as well as his campaign staff members who were actively engaged in talks with Russia. Why does it matter? Because it is a form of treason and those who knowingly participated in this act are undermining the security we value as Americans and this is a threat to all Americans. President Trump finally stated the Russians likely did hack into our government secured sites. Now we know Americans have been compromised meaning your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will cease to exist. If this does not matter to you and you want to shove it under the rug and ignore the dire need for a congressional investigation then buckle up and get ready for a President who likes his name so much that he puts it on everything he can get his hands on. We will all reside in an alternative world with alternative facts. What next, a new name for our country, the United States of Trump. How does that sound to you? Thank you Robert Mann for holding fast to our second amendment of freedom of speech and prepare to fight for it. Some Americans want to see that go away as well.


    1. Leekhoury, so that explains the telephone call I rec’d last evening! When I answered, Barack Obama, late of the White House, was asking me to help him and the Democrats defeat the purposes of the Republican Party and Donald Trump. Would I help, he finally asked in his usual jaunty way. Though a Deplorable, I was cagey enough to know it was a recording and not the real B.O, but I pressed button #1 as he asked me to do in order to make a donation. I wanted to know what the rascal was up to. Shortly, some chirpy young thing answered, and this is how she answered: “Thank you for helping us in our campaign to impeach Donald Trump….!” “Impeach” is the word she used. I asked her if I had understood her correctly, and she repeated it. That was as far as my patience went, and I told her I was going to report her organization for dialing me up when my number is on the national do-not-call list and that I was insulted the party was trying to impeach a president in the first week of his presidency. To what lengths will the Democratic Party go in its mad fit. Can you imagine what this would do to this nation? Trump is far too chatty to have secret talks with anyone, and your conspiracy theory is absurd. What would we do—have a new election? This is what is coming out of West Virginia? What self-serving folks this party has proven itself to be. The party of Marxian revolution. You should be ashamed of yourself and your party. Deplorable reasoning and even more deplorable selfishness.

      P.S. And I thought you had to be signed in to contribute to this blog.


      1. How does that phone call explain Mr. Koury? He is advocating an investigation that, in theory, could clear Pres. Trump of any Russian hacking allegations. I would think Pres. Trump would be eager to clear his name. The fact some “chirpy young thing” gave you a case of the vapors with the word “impeach” is regrettable. Perhaps when you answered to help Democrats she took you as a man of your word.


      2. I see no reason for the President to need to “clear his name.” The post suggested to me the basis for the absurd impeachment claim. That Obama has signed on with this just shows his lack of character and concern for the nation. As if we needed more.


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