Comment

American presidents are members of an elite club. As “leaders of the free world” during their time in the Oval Office, they are expected to uphold Western covenants and traditions, uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution, fairly execute the laws of the land, administer the federal bureaucracy (as chief of the executive branch of the U.S. government), conducting foreign policy and international affairs, and other important duties.

Various unwritten rules—essentially protocols, customs, and courtesies—have historically governed how “club” members are expected to interact with one another in public. Call it “presidential etiquette,” if you will:

  • Act collegially in public places.
  • Do not speak ill of club members.
  • Do not engage in political debates in public.
  • Maintain traditions, such as executive privilege.
  • Do not raid the homes of other club members.

Well, that last item is probably not on the unwritten list. But you would have thought it wouldn’t have been necessary to put it on a list like this in the first place!

The American left has railed for the past six years against the alleged malice and lack of grace and decorum of former President Donald Trump (see here, here and here). Perhaps the Democrat-media complex was unaccustomed to a Republican president who gave as much as he got (or better) in the relentless political wars that dominate discourse within the American political class these days. this. They smiled approvingly at George W. Bush’s ever-willing efforts to turn the other cheek when politically attacked. In contrast, they fumed and cringed at Trump’s “nasty tweets” that exposed their lies and hypocrisies. Perhaps this is the core of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” – their inability to accept reality while swallowing their gaslighting, propaganda and fabrications about Trump when he regularly exposed their lies on Twitter.

And that, perhaps, serves as a key motivating factor in the Democrats’ relentless attempts to “get Trump” by any means possible: impeachment (twice), forced resignation (choose your poison: Trump empire financial irregularities , tax code violations, emoluments clause, Stormy Daniels, etc.), and now speculative indictments inferred by the Democrat-media complex surrounding the raid on his Mar-a-Lago home (again , Choose Your Poison: Nuclear Secrets, Illegal Possession of Highly Classified Documents, Espionage), as well as Trump’s supposed upcoming indictment associated with the Democrats’ House of Stars investigation into the Jan. 6 protest.

A local law enforcement officer outside former President Donald Trump’s home at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2022. (Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images)

But criticism of Trump within the club has been bipartisan. George W. Bush got in on the act in October 2019 when, as reported here, he “delivers[ed] a searing rebuke of Trumpism, arguing that “bigotry seems emboldened” today, and “we have seen nationalism warped into nativism.” Barack Obama couldn’t have said it better, but at least Bush – unlike Obama – didn’t mention Trump by name in keeping with presidential protocol, decorum and tradition.

To some extent, these bipartisan attacks on Trump come as no surprise, as Trump is not a career politician, unlike other members of the club. Nor is Trump tainted by the corruption of the Clinton, Bush, Obama and Biden families. In fact, he is seen as a direct threat, especially when he addressed the third rail of corruption when he expressed a desire to clean up corruption in Ukraine (a honeypot for corrupt dealings within the class American politics; and here).

Thus, it was perhaps inevitable that President Joe Biden would openly violate longstanding presidential protocols to “get Trump.” Here are three examples.

Executive privilege

Biden’s first break from executive privilege protocols came last October, as reported here: “Biden said he would waive privilege and ask the National Archives to produce to congressional investigators a file regarding the attack on the January 6 against the US Capitol. [sic].” Since those records predated his inauguration, it was not his job to waive the privilege, but he did so to help congressional Democrats “get Trump.”

Biden repeated his performance in February 2022 by waiving Peter Navarro’s request for executive privilege to protect J6 committee documents.

Trump’s executive privilege was again breached to precipitate the raid on his Mar-a-Lago home. Biden empowered the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to waive any claims of executive privilege that Trump might assert by blocking access to all (and apparently all) records in his home.

As Alan Dershowitz said on August 23, “[T]The idea that a sitting president can somehow waive the executive privilege of a former president really destroys executive privilege, which is implicit in Section 2 of the Constitution. You cannot have a privilege that your political opponent can waive.

Lowering

The FBI executed a sealed search warrant on August 8 to search Trump’s Florida home for what news reports described as withholding and possessing “unauthorized” documents. Several former federal law enforcement officers condemned the raid on the home of a former president as “completely unprecedented” and as much a political attack as a legal one. For example, Michael Tabman, a former special agent in charge of the FBI, said the raid was “‘unprecedented’ – especially for a non-sitting commander-in-chief and one who has indicated he might run again”.

And then there’s the quicksand of reasons for the raid, as noted above, which follow the pattern of FBI/DoJ leaks to media associated with the FBI’s “get Trump” Operation Crossfire Hurricane.

documents in mar-a-lago
Documents seized during the FBI’s Aug. 8 raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., in a photo released Aug. 30, 2022. (FBI via Epoch Times)

Judd Garrett summed up the real purpose of the raid: “This raid and all other attacks on Trump and his associates are not about the rule of law or the protection of democracy; they are the exact opposite, a blatant attempt to circumvent the rule of law and thwart democracy. In short, “get Trump” at all costs – protocols and precedence be damned.

The speech

On September 1, Biden attacked Trump by name in one of the most controversial presidential speeches in American history. Some called the speech “a declaration of war in demonic terms on the roughly half of the electorate who voted for [Trump].”

How else could one characterize these words spoken by Biden: “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic”?

Biden was not the first to break protocol by attacking Trump and his 75 million supporters during his “Leni Riefenstahl speech” at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Biden may have followed in the footsteps of Obama, who went public with a scathing attack on Trump in September 2018 (video here). The 10 elements of Obama’s attack during this speech are summarized here. In fact, before Obama, it would be hard to identify a previous outburst of one club member against another.

Meanwhile, club members George W. Bush and Bill Clinton remained silent on Biden’s shameful speech.

Final Thoughts

A former US president has never had his claims of executive privilege overturned by a sitting US president. A former US president has never had his home raided at the instigation of a sitting president. A former US president has never been attacked by name, and his supporters accused of “threats to democracy” by a sitting US president. So much for the club’s unwritten presidential protocols. It’s all in service of the Democrats’ efforts to “get Trump.”

Will the U-turn be fair with an America-first Republican in the Oval Office going forward?

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Epoch Times.

Stu Cvrk

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Stu Cvrk retired as a Captain after serving 30 years in the United States Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and Western Pacific. Thanks to his training and experience as an oceanographer and systems analyst, Cvrk graduated from the US Naval Academy, where he received a classic liberal education that serves as the essential basis for his political commentary.

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