WASHINGTON - As we confront the 1,000th day of the Trump presidency, we see what it's come down to – and you know this - the re-election of Donald Trump.
Four more years of troubling tweets. Four more years of bloviating bliss for 24/7 cable news, no matter whether left-wing or right-wing. Four more years of exhaustion, U.S.-aided international turmoil and economic uncertainty. Total polarization for all of us.
Dear voters, that is what the weird Ukraine scandal is about. Trump withheld congressionally authorized military aid for an ally at war to try to ascertain that it pursued bogus and provably unfounded corruption claims against his potential political rival Joe Biden. Biden may be boring but as one of the least wealthy national politicians, he's not, from everything we know, corrupt. Whereas Trump is and always has been provably corrupt. Americans knew that in 2016 and said, what the heck.
So what if Donald Trump (a billionaire whose businesses from which he did not disassociate are benefitting magnificently from his presidency) is actively encouraging foreign countries to interfere in our elections. That, by the way, is as unconstitutional as anything the Founding Fathers could fathom.
All U.S. intelligence agencies concurred, unanimously, that Russia worked to elect Trump president and will do so again in 2020. A two-year multimillion-dollar investigation proved that Trump obstructed justice during the probe of Russian interference. What happened? Nothing.
Now, Trump, shockingly against all diplomatic advice, has betrayed the Kurds, who fought with the U.S. against ISIS and the war against terrorism (remember that?) in Iraq and Afghanistan. How do those of us whose sons and daughters have fought in those wars reconcile that? ISIS may now be resurgent. Russia is thrilled that we threw away our claim as defender of human rights. Our goals in the Middle East are shredded.
What do we, as Americans in love with freedom, think about the bizarre affinity Trump has for dictators Russian Vladimir Putin, Turk Recep Tayyip Erdogan, North Korean Kim Jong Un and Chinese Xi Jinping (among others)? ALL have been accused of murdering and imprisoning dissidents.
And guess who suggested that legally protected whistleblowers, holding back the curtain on his potentially illegal activities, were guilty of treason, punishable by death? Yes, Trump.
Most bizarrely, the whistleblowers implicated Trump in a crime to which Trump himself admitted guilt. His White House released notes of his call with the president of Ukraine demanding that country manufacture evidence of corruption against Biden, with the clear implication that millions of dollars in aid were at stake. Ukraine is at war with Russia, which is trying to restore the old Soviet Union. Russia has been sanctioned internationally for invading Crimea.
But, most assuredly, as we assess the last thousand days, history will blame Trump's presidency for failing to act on climate change, which he insists is a "hoax," despite all scientific evidence.
What we have here, aside from four more years of pumping millions into Trump's pockets, is democracy at stake.
When the White House says it will not concede constitutional congressional authority for documents or witnesses in the impeachment proceedings, it is saying that the executive office is all-powerful and may do whatever it wants. Wow. Do we no longer have three equal branches of government?
I regularly travel coast to coast in this great country – and many points in between - and know first-hand that many Americans support Trump, convinced he has maintained a good economy, despite the trade wars, huge deficit spending and the dispiriting lack of growth in wages.
As a former reporter, I wrote about the Watergate scandal and was at the White House the day Richard Nixon resigned, a move prompted by his fellow Republicans appalled at his abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
We are at the same point. Trump was not prepared to be president and was stunned to be elected. He made the best of a bad situation, deciding he and his family could benefit. Monetarily.
Trump has not grown in office. His ignorance about the country and the world remains shocking. His arrogance is mind-blowing. He is not a model for children. In their hearts, Americans know this.
Contrary to the Trump administration's assertion, special counsel Robert Mueller's report concluded that Trump obstructed justice; unfortunately, Mueller acquiesced in the administration's insistence that as president, Trump was invulnerable to judicial procedures.
But not the political consequences of impeachment.
Inexplicably, a mind-blowing number of Republicans have decided – so far_ that Trump's unconstitutional transgressions do not matter, that his narcissistic approach to power and amazing display of wanton bravado are the price we should pay for business as usual.
In one year we voters must decide a major issue: Are presidents above the law or not?
One thousand days under Trump have passed. How many to go?
ABOUT THE WRITER
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at email@example.com.