Normalizing Corruption: Trump Fires Another IG & Romney Bemoans the Death of "Accountable Democracy"
Political Scientists wonder aloud these days if there will ever be a moment when the sheer volume of corruption within the Trump administration will bother his supporters or Republicans in Congress. The answer, unfortunately, may be that Trump is normalizing malfeasance in such a way that many Americans are becoming numb to each new revelation, each new outrage. Jim Lardner of the American Prospect made that point recently in discussing the Ukraine scandal and the President's impeachment. Lardner takes on the thankless job of "mapping" out the corruption that has taken root within the Trump administration.
American Prospect, Mapping Corruption: Donald Trump’s Executive Branch: "Set aside the hate-mongering and the stream of conspiracy theories and demagogic bombast. Trump has sowed corruption of a breadth and brazenness unseen in the far-from-innocent annals of our nation’s history. In three years as president, he has transformed the executive branch into a giant favor factory, populated with the agents or willing partners of virtually every special interest. Add up all the routine, daily outrages—the quasi-bribery and quasi-extortion, the private raids on public funds, the handouts to the undeserving, the massive flow of cash, jobs, and freebies back in return—and Trump’s attempt to squeeze a little re-election help out of the fragile government of a desperate Eastern European country does not loom particularly large in the reckoning."
Day after day, the corruptions of our democracy come at us like a fire hose while the President explains it away as the work of the "deep state" and launches another Twitter attack on the pesky journalists that have the audacity to report it. His supporters applaud "venality for the greater good." or some such nonsense, and the majority cover their ears hoping that it will all just go away. It won't and tomorrow will be worse than today because Donald Trump will continue pushing the bounds of decency until Americans say "enough." But will they?
Late Friday, Trump fired Steve A. Linick, the State Department's inspector general [IG], the official responsible for fighting waste, fraud, and malfeasance in the department. Apparently, the President did this at the urging of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who was not pleased that Linick was investigating wrongdoing in the department.
New York Times: "Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, immediately called the decision to remove Mr. Linick an “outrageous act” meant to protect Mr. Pompeo from accountability."
"By Saturday, Mr. Engel and Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had opened an investigation into Mr. Linick’s removal, citing a pattern of “politically motivated firing of inspectors general."
Inspector generals are the watchdogs over what Donald Trump used to call the "swamp." They are independent of the administration so that they are free to report improprieties to the legislative branch and let us know when officials are engaged in corrupt practices. So, normally firing one would raise red flags, and that is especially true for this administration because the President has a track record of firing IGs that report malfeasance.
It will be interesting to note over the next week whether the story behind Mr. Linick's firing "has legs" or if Trump again proves that he "could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody" without losing any voters. He'll do his best to tie Linick to the "deep state," and claim the investigation into his firing is politically motivated. And amid the Covid-19 pandemic, will anyone pay attention?
One hopeful note; Mitt Romney continues to demonstrate that he is sickened by what Trump is doing to the nation.
CNN: "Republican Sen. Mitt Romney on Saturday denounced President Donald Trump's firings of internal government oversight officials, calling it a "threat to accountable democracy."...
..."The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose. It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power," the Utah Republican tweeted."
Well said, but is anyone listening and will they care? Will Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz ever grow backbones? Will white evangelicals ever get sick of the rot they help to perpetuate?
By: Don Lam & Curated Content