I rarely make snap judgments, because I don’t think it’s fair to the party who is the subject of my attention. I have known Donald Trump personally, and on three occasions I was his counsel. Professional standards do not allow me to talk about the subject of our relationship, so I will refrain from saying anything about business. But watching Trump’s actions over the past few years has driven me to say that no president has ever soiled the dignity of the White House as has he.
I have no doubt that the former president will seek another term in the White House. His hunger for power has no limits, and he learned over the course of four years that a president can get away with just about anything. Almost every day of the week there is a story detailing how, in one way or another, he bent the rules to serve his agenda. A recent House committee report described how the Trump organization overcharged the country to house Secret Service personnel. That was just a $1.4 million drop in the bucket.
Any discussion of the Trump experience has to start with the Charlottesville, Virginia, demonstrations in August 2017. Hundreds of anti-Black and anti-Jewish ralliers paraded Ku Klux Klan-style on their way to a Unite the Right event. The following day, when a car drove into a crowd of counterprotesters, a woman was killed. Afterward, Trump stated that “there were very fine people on both sides.” That was his wink-wink to the neo-Nazi, neo-fascist, white supremacist nation.
Fast-forward to the weeks and months after the November 2020 election. Unable to accept his loss, Trump worked closely with lawyers and sycophants in an effort to prevent the results from being certified. No president in the history of this country has ever tried to stop an election from being certified with false delegate slates. At least members of the Trump legal team are facing the possibility of criminal charges recommended by a Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury.
Let’s move on to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Numerous former Trump administration officials have testified under oath that Trump made no effort to stop the marauding crowd from smashing its way into the Capitol and desecrating its halls. Four people died during that riot, and five law enforcement officers died in its aftermath. Despite pleas by Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among others, the president refused to call the National Guard to end the melee.
Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.