President Donald Trump’s refusal to hold the Russian Federation accountable for their electronic warfare campaign during the 2016 election on his behalf has been one of the primary sources of contention ever since he took office – and after his antics over the past few days, even members of his own party have had enough.
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Yesterday, President Trump reluctantly announced that he “accepted” the results of our intelligence community’s extensive investigation into the hacking campaigns against the DNC and senior Clinton campaign staffers but refused to place blame on Russia, vacillating and insisting that “it could have been other people too.”
But his remarks were far little, far too late. There was no undoing what he said and did in Helsinki, Finland, while standing next to Vladimir Putin and publicly refusing not once but twice to challenge the Russian president on his nation’s efforts to interfere in our elections.
His behavior has prompted some stronger than usual Very Serious Concerns from senior figures in the Republican Party but little action beyond performative pearl-clutching – until now.
Republican state representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) published an op-ed in the Texas Tribune this morning in which he became the first Republican lawmaker to publicly call for Trump’s impeachment.
We shall skip over the obligatory and trite worship of our last movie star president with rapidly decaying mental faculties that dominates the first part of the piece and get right to the meat of the matter, where Villaballa condemns the president for a host of transgressions – and reflects on the personal price he’s had to pay for daring to oppose him:
…today, our own president of the United States mocks these basic tenets. Since Donald J. Trump has been president, he alone has increased the national debt by over $1 trillion. Yes. One trillion dollars. The fastest any president in U.S. history has accrued that level of debt.
Our president has mocked and belittled our immigration laws, our intelligence agencies, our foreign policy strategy and even the American people. We have been called “stupid,” “weak,” “a joke” and “pathetic,” all by our own president…
I was one of the only Republican elected officials in the country to plead with the American voters to abandon this charlatan prior to his election. For my transgressions, I was summarily unelected from the Texas Legislature. I have no regrets. I always do what I believe is right. That is not politically expedient, but it helps me sleep at night.
Villalba bravely turns on his own party and implicates them all for their complicity in the appalling mess that has unfolded ever since Donald Trump stepped into the Oval Office.
But verily I say unto you today, if we do not stop this man now, today, over 500 days into his presidency, we will be equally culpable in what he has planned for our great nation. President Trump thinks you are a fool. He believes you will never abandon him. And he believes that that there is almost nothing that he can do that would cause you to abandon supporting him.
But what he doesn’t know is that you are not a fool. You, like me, are an American. And no man will own your heart and mind like this president thinks he owns you.
Today is the day we take back our America. Today is the day we say “NO” to anyone who revels in abusing those weaker than them for political points.
We have the clarity and focus to do what is right to make our communities better and stronger. This is who we are — not the contorted caricature that the alt-right has created of us.
Today, we will stand with our better angels. We will stand with those who seek to transcend the common detritus of the ordinary and become citizens of that shining city on the hill that Reagan spoke of so long ago.
We are better than what this president suggests we are. We eschew ugliness and divisiveness. Donald J. Trump is no longer our leader. It is time to push him into the ash bin of history.
Today, I ask you to impeach Trump.
While his idealistic and whitewashed visions of what President Reagan actually represented and did are pretty far from the mark, Villalba should be commended for his bravery.
He wrote this op-ed knowing that doing so will probably mean the end of his political ambitions in central Texas – but had the courage to do so anyway, which is more than we can say of every other major Republican elected official, who are more interested in drowning their principles in the bathtub of ambition than reining in a treasonous would-be tyrant.
Read the whole op-ed here.