Which President Misused Government Power?
The Leftmedia is worried about Trump's RNC, but it should remember Obama.
If there was a Leftmedia theme from the first night of the Republican National Convention, it was that it was “dark.” For the second night, the theme might have been the fainting couch — as in pundits at various outlets falling on one because President Donald Trump was “breaking with precedent” and using the “powers of government in service of reelection.”
The Washington Post exemplifies the argument: “President Trump and the Republican Party placed the powers of the federal government in service to Trump’s reelection on Tuesday — staging pardoning and naturalization ceremonies as part of the GOP’s official nominating convention and using the White House Rose Garden for a speech by the first lady.” That also includes “an unusual political endorsement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered from an official overseas trip. The format bucked traditional norms of diplomacy and launched a House investigation into whether Pompeo violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that separates government functions from political ones.”
The pardon and the naturalization ceremony were both moving moments, and both illustrated two key pillars of President Trump’s record — criminal justice reform and legal immigration. The latter in particular also reminds us what a great country we live in, just as Maximo Alvarez did the night before.
The White House is where Melania Trump lives, and, last we heard from the media, we’re still in a pandemic in which travel is frowned upon. Heck, Joe Biden hasn’t left his basement since March. Hence the first lady’s Rose Garden venue, as well as the fact that Trump will accept the Republican nomination Thursday from the White House — also a first.
Finally, as for Pompeo’s speech, it was political only in that he favorably recounted a list of Trump’s foreign policy achievements, obliquely contrasting them to previous failed policies.
Trump’s style and protocols (or shattering thereof) are certainly up for debate, and we’ll let others do so. We’ll simply observe that his voters sent him to DC to shatter protocols that do nothing more than put a smiley face on establishment abuse.
To that point, the idea that Trump is doing something unprecedented is preposterous. Just to highlight a couple of examples, Barack Obama jetted around the country on Air Force One for campaign appearances. He politicized everything everywhere he went, usually on the taxpayers’ dime. So did Joe Biden, who, for example, bashed Trump while at a NATO summit on foreign soil in 2016.
Far worse, Obama and Biden used the power of various government agencies to advance their campaign agenda. They weaponized the IRS not for political speeches at a convention but to silence the political speech of their opponents ahead of an election. Obama’s two secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, politicized the job — whether it was Hillary lying about Benghazi to protect Obama’s reelection bid or Kerry negotiating with Iran after leaving office so as to undermine the current president.
Recounting Obama’s abuse of power wouldn’t be complete, of course, without mentioning that he mobilized the FBI to investigate Trump’s presidential campaign and then to instigate an attempted coup against his duly elected successor.
Forgive us if we don’t fret over a couple of speeches at the RNC when this is the history of how Democrats wield power when they have it.