In the oath of office, the president of the United States promises “to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution…” (that document that begins, so soaringly, “We, the People…”)
We may infer that the president’s oath to protect extends to the rights enshrined in said Constitution. One of these, expanded every century or so to become more inclusive, is the right to vote.
The Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Election, delivered by Robert Mueller in March, concluded unequivocally that “the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”
Leaving aside the question of “collusion,” does not the president have at least an obligation to protect citizens of the United States from the influence of a foreign adversary in the exercise of our right to free and fair elections? Yet we see no enthusiasm for improved election security from this White House.
Cybersecurity experts warn us that the Russian government is expected to be interfering in the 2020 election as much as or more than they did in 2016.
“We must take steps to protect our democracy by passing legislation that enhances election security, increases social media transparency and requires campaign officials to report any contact with foreign nationals attempting to coordinate with a campaign,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., of the Senate Intelligence committee, said in a statement following Special Counsel Mueller’s remarks urging election security.
The former head of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, was reportedly extremely concerned about addressing issues of security in the upcoming election, but was cautioned by other Cabinet members not to bring it up in President Trump’s presence.
Mr. Trump will presumably again be the Russian’s chosen candidate. His oath notwithstanding, this president has shown that his primary impulse is the protection of his own interests over any other, including the good of the country or the office of the presidency.
Currently failing to protect the U.S. from “all enemies, foreign and domestic,” this president is guilty of the ultimate in “high crimes and misdemeanors”: his willingness to allow interference in the next election. That interference, in the short term, will favor him but in the long term only the adversaries of the United States will benefit from the inevitable crumbling of confidence in our elections and in American democracy itself. This alone requires that Congress, for our protection and the integrity of our elections, begin the process of removing him from office.
We the People, and not anyone else, have the right to choose our leaders.