Why Trump Should Resign

Donald Trump should resign as president in light of a profile of disgrace about him by his onetime national security adviser, John Bolton.

Bolton’s long-awaited book about a president who has been nothing but controversially bombastic in his more than three years in office paints a devasting portrait of Trump as a leader more concerned about himself and his re-election than his country. Trump’s lapdog Justice Department is trying to block the book from publication five months before a crucial election.

The book’s insider disclosures are a bald recognition of Trump’s character and behind-the-scenes machinations that have been unveiled in dribs and drabs by lower level sources since he ran for president five years ago. Much of what Bolton has written about Trump’s behavior has come to be expected of a mercurial, narcissistic president because of past disclosures about him.

The book’s most damaging revelation questions the morality, judgment and knowledge of world affairs of the leader of the most powerful country in the history of the world; It is his appeal to Chinese President Xi Jinping in June 2019 to help him get re-elected by buying more American farm goods in order to attract voters.

He requested the help of a dictator of a foreign power, a rival nuclear state, who often is hostile to the interests of the United States, to interfere in an American election, a probable illegal act that illustrates a complete disregard of right from wrong and could be grounds for impeachment.

Trying to enlist another country to assist in Trump’s re-election is comparable to what he demanded of Ukraine in September 2019 by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid from that east European nation until it produced damaging information about his election rival, Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump on a charge of abuse of power in his attempt to coerce Ukraine to help him win re-election and obstruction of Congress. The Senate voted to acquit him.

Trump’s overture to Xi was made during a face-to-face meeting at a Group of 20 summit in Japan, Bolton wrote in the book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” Advance copies of the book were distributed to major newspapers, the Associated Press and some broadcast journalists.

Trump long has been known to favor autocrats and his encounter with Xi wasn’t the only dictator he sought a favor from or was willing to help according to Bolton’s book.

The Washington Post’s account said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave Trump a memo saying a Turkish company under investigation by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York was innocent of accusations of violating Iranian sanctions.

“Trump then told Erdogan he would take care of things, explaining that the Southern District prosecutors were not his people, but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people,” Bolton wrote.

“Bolton says he was so alarmed by Trump’s determination to do favors for autocrats such as Erdogan and Xi that he scheduled a meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr in 2019 to discuss the president’s behavior,” Post reporter Josh Dawsey wrote.

Trump’s knowledge of world affairs came under fire in the book when Bolton wrote the president was surprised to learn the United Kingdom, America’s closest ally and the only one with whom it has a “special relationship,” is a nuclear power.

Further, he wrote that “Trump said invading Venezuela would be ‘cool’ and that the South American nation was “really part of the United States,” the Post said.

The president long has been known to regard the media as the “enemy of the people.” The Post account elaborated on that by describing a meeting in New Jersey last summer during which “Trump says journalists should be jailed so they have to divulge their sources: ‘These people should be executed. They are scumbags,’ Trump said, according to Bolton’s account.”

Bolton’s allegations raise questions about the character and intelligence of a president who would sacrifice the interests and integrity of his country for the sake of his personal gain, assuredly a blatant violation of his oath of office, which states:

 “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

How can Trump be trusted to safeguard and advance the interests of the United States and its 300 million-plus people if he is willing to sell us short by putting his personal interests first? Where does it stop?

The book will make Bolton, 72, a longtime conservative who served as Trump’s third national security adviser for 17 months in 2018 and 2019, the target of severe criticism for not having testified about the president’s serious indiscretions before the House impeachment hearings in January instead of saving them for a book under a $2 million contract with Simon & Schuster. The Senate blocked Bolton from testifying.

Nevertheless, there is no guarantee the Republican-led Senate would have voted to convict Trump even if Bolton had appeared before the House.

Bolton also served three other Republican presidents and was ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 under a recess appointment by President George W. Bush.

One thing is certain: Bolton’s book, when added to all of Trump’s ignorance, incompetence, racism, a blanket refusal to lead the country through the pandemic, his insistence that active duty soldiers break up recent peaceful demonstrations, his withdrawals from major arms control and other treaties, his departure from invaluable U.N. organizations, his repeated demands for U.S. abandonment of NATO, his cozying up to the world’s most brutal dictators, his continual fomenting of chaos in the White House, his constant firings of senior officials and inspectors general, his weakening of major government agencies, his careless wonton deregulation of environmental protections, his denial of climate change and his flagrant abuses of power as detailed in the House impeachment trial helps serve notice to the American people that this would-be pretender to a throne is totally unfit to be president of the United States.

His resignation would be a welcome and blessed relief.

Richard C. Gross, who covered war and peace in the Middle East and was foreign editor of United Press International, served as the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.