Inhibiting further corruption and indecency in the Oval Office

A case for restoring integrity in our government

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Natalie Dosmond '21

We must preserve the American people’s faith in the government and eliminate threats to our democracy.

By Natalie Dosmond, Sacred Heart Greenwich

Former President Donald J. Trump has shown himself to be an enemy of democracy, directly opposing peace and unity in his country, which eventually exploded in the insurrection January 6.  Mr. Trump has corrupted the presidency and allowed his own business ventures to preside over the interests of the American people.  Additionally, the questioning of the integrity of 2020’s presidential election by the incumbent himself further assaulted democracy and proved to be incredibly dangerous to law and order in our country.  The attacks of January 6 reveal why preserving American democracy still has to be a priority going forward and why we must work towards restoring people’s faith in the government. 

Those who are partisan and bipartisan alike agree that accountability and government reform is necessary to save our democracy, according to news.stanford.edu.  Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization with a bipartisan committee, focused on restoring order to a corrupt presidency and government since 2003, according to citizensforethics.org.  The organization is not only focused on exposing those who abuse the system, but is also committed to working alongside policymakers to reform ethics and campaign finance laws. 

Mr. Noah Bookbinder, Executive Director of CREW and former federal corruption prosecutor, has played an instrumental role over the past four years in shaping the public perception of Mr. Trump using fact-based information.  CREW has specifically worked to shine a light on the constant corruption of Mr. Trump’s presidency, which includes investigating Mr. Trump’s 3,737 conflicts over the past four years, according to citizensforethics.org

As the Executive Director of CREW, Mr. Noah Bookbinder works towards an open and accountable government.  Natalie Dosmond ’21

“CREW is an organization that uses an expert legal team, a really thorough and skilled research time, and a very talented communications team to promote ethics in government, to fight corruption, and fight for democracy,” Mr. Bookbinder said.  “We obviously have been focused for the past four years on this level of corruption and anti-democratic abuses that I think none of us thought we would ever see.  It is now obvious to us that the fight to preserve our democratic institutions and to rebuild an ethical government, far from being over, is really just getting going and is more important than it has ever been.”

Claims of a fraudulent election from the president himself diminished the voice of Americans and posed an unprecedented threat to our democracy, according to usatoday.com.  Mr. Trump’s own interests and desire for power took priority over the vote and interests of the American people, according to campaignlegal.org.  Some individuals may argue in favor of what Mr. Trump has done during his presidency, such as launching Operation Ward Speed to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus and implementing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to protect small businesses, according to The Washington Post.  However, his refusal to accept the election results and to adhere to the longstanding tradition of a peaceful transition of power exemplifies how he endangers democracy. 

Mr. Bookbinder discussed how Mr. Trump’s refusal to acknowledge President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory and to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, a practice that has taken place for 220 years in the United States and that sets the global standard for democracy, is dangerous to national security and ultimately led to the horrific attacks of January 6.

“CREW has been making the point, not just since the election but even before the election, that the President, in questioning the integrity of the election and in suggesting first that it would be stolen and then it was stolen when it was an election that he ultimately clearly lost, that that was an assault on democracy and that it was incredibly dangerous,” Mr. Bookbinder said. 

The Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) at Harvard University conducted a poll with Harris Insights and Analytics in which 57 percent of U.S. voters said “they believe that Trump’s single term in the White House should be both the beginning and end of his career in electoral politics,” according to thehill.comFurthermore, 28 percent of Grand Old Party (GOP) voters said they “believe that Trump should be banned from holding elected office after he leaves the White House.”  Evidently, Mr. Trump’s anti-democratic actions pose too large of a threat to our country’s democracy that the government and American people must bar him from future federal office and strip him of his power and influence.

Trump loyalists storm the United States Capitol January 6.  Courtesy of Mr. Kenny Holston

“When the attack happened, our team worked to make clear that Mr. Trump had shown himself to be an enemy of democracy, that this was an attack on America, and that he had to be impeached, removed, and prohibited from holding further office in the United States because getting him out is not enough,” Mr. Bookbinder said.  “The risk posed by the fact that he could be running for president again within a week is not a tolerable risk and we put that out right from the beginning.”

Not only must Mr. Trump lose his power in order to save American democracy, but other government officials, such as members of Congress, must also stand for what they believe is right.  The violence that Mr. Trump incited has attacked our democracy in unparalleled ways, particularly through the personal and dire threats that members of Congress experienced in the midst of last week’s insurrection, according to nbcnews.com.  These threats have undoubtedly caused a number of these individuals to be afraid to vote how they believe, shown in the impeachment trial January 13, according to CNN.  This is a terrifying prospect and one that will ultimately be the downfall of our democracy if not remedied.

“At some point, people who run for office have to be willing and able to follow some kinds of principles,” Mr. Bookbinder said.  “If we have members of Congress who cannot vote the way they want to vote because they are scared, then we no longer have a democracy.  I think that members have to find it within themselves to go to the FBI, Capitol Police, or Secret Service to report threats and request protection and then do the right thing.  It cannot be an excuse that ‘I cannot vote the right way because it’s too dangerous.’  If that’s the case, we need to shut down the whole operation.”

The events of January 6 were the biggest threat to our country’s democracy that we have ever experienced, according to inquirer.com.  However, it has been apparent throughout the duration of Mr. Trump’s presidency that our democracy has been in danger.  The constant corruption, dissemination of misinformation, and immoral conduct culminated in an attempted coup, which only further brought to light the need for an ethical government in Washington, D.C. that restores law and order in our country.  This begins not only with the inauguration of a new president, but with the reformation of our government so that this level of indecency will never enter the Oval Office again.

Featured Image by Natalie Dosmond ’21

This story was originally published on King Street Chronicle on January 22, 2021.