Mark Painter is a retired judge. His 30+ years of service includes appointments to the 1st District Court of Appeals and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal. And Painter is a Republican.
A reasoned, thoughtful, distinguished, and respected figure, Painter’s opinions matter. When he speaks, people listen. That’s why his scathing article this week in Cincinnati.com (part of the USA Today network) is causing even the most patient Republicans to pay attention.
After watching Trump’s administration quickly collapse because of ineptitude and poor character, after watching how he claims he has unchecked power, after watching him function as a child, and after witnessing his surrogates spew lie after lie, he has already come to the conclusion that this guy has to go.
A president of the United States, on the official POTUS Twitter feed, assails a department store for dropping his daughter’s merchandise. On the same day, the Pentagon is looking to rent space in the Trump Tower. Trump’s son travels to Uganda to make a Trump business deal. And, of course, foreign diplomats will stay at the Trump Hotel. The cash comes marching in.
The phony legalisms Trump has said he used to “separate” himself from his businesses – though he still owns them and his sons are running them – will be cited to make this all acceptable. Horsefeathers. No ethical expert could say with a straight face that this is not a classic conflict of interest.
Painter bemoans that only in our “post-factual era” (a clear reference to Sean Spicer’s and Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts”), is Trump able to carry on despite his record of “dazzlingly illegal” activities. He goes on to point out that “the people’s president” is anything but. “The leader of the band of Mad Hatters occupying the White House has already insulted allied world leaders, issued illegal and badly written orders, impugned a “so-called” judge appointed by his own party, and appointed the least-qualified cabinet ever. The first secretary of state was Thomas Jefferson. Trump appointed a big-oil executive with close ties to Russia. The first treasury secretary was Alexander Hamilton. Trump appointed a former Goldman Sachs exec who got rich foreclosing on homeowners. The national security advisor lasted 24 days.”
The reasoned Painter reminds the readers that he is a life-long Republican, but believes the party he loves has skewed so far to the right that Trump now inhabits “another universe.” In a pointed declaration of the state of affairs and what we now must do, Painter adds, “It’s tough, but we must end this dangerous presidency. Trump must be impeached and removed with all haste. But only Congress can initiate the process.”
Painter’s frustrations have turned into the beginning of a movement, and we are all part of that movement. Keep the faith, and continue to hold this president and his cronies accountable!