Victor Davis Hanson perceptively pointed out that President Trump is being impeached for his thoughts rather than his actions. For instance, he thought about withholding military aid from Ukraine, but he didn’t do it. He didn’t withhold it in exchange for an investigation into Burisma or anything else. He didn’t withhold it all. Ukraine received every last penny of its promised $391 million.
President Obama, on the other hand, flatly denied military aid to Ukraine, even in the face of Russian aggression. This left Ukraine increasingly vulnerable to Putin’s acquisitive impulses and created the impression that Obama, and not Trump, is the true Putin “stooge” here. Hanson raises the natural question: was it a worse “crime” to think about denying aid or to actually do it? But if it’s worse to actually do it, why didn’t the Democrats try to drag Obama to the political gallows?
Democrats are so irrationally obsessed with harming this president that they have caused the gears of government to grind to a screeching halt over a non-crime.
Jesus told a parable to the political leaders who were seeking to kill him, a parable about a man with two sons. In the story (Matthew 21:28-32), the sons were directed by their father to go to work in his vineyard. The first flatly said “I will not,” whereas the second son responded with alacrity, “I go, sir.” But the second son, despite his promise, did not, in fact, go into the fields. The first son, on the other hand, changed his mind after his initial denial and went.
So Jesus asks the question, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” The enemies of Jesus rightly said, “The first.” Notice that the focus of Jesus is not on what the sons said but what they did in the end.
In a similar way, Obama might have seemed to be the agreeable one, but when it came time to pony up for anti-tank missiles, he was AWOL. Even though Congress passed a bill awarding $50 million in lethal aid to Ukraine, Obama refused to actually do it. He claimed to worry that it would only provoke Putin, thus reinforcing his image as Putin’s “sock puppet.”
Trump, on the other hand, was initially reluctant to send the aid to Ukraine without some assurances that an investigation into corruption would commence. But he changed his mind and sent Ukraine the whole bundle with no preconditions.
(The word is out today, by the way, that Ukraine has finally launched a corruption investigation into Burisma.)
To borrow from Jesus’ story, which of these presidents did the will of Congress - the one who was agreeable in word but did absolutely nothing, or the one who hesitated but then sent the whole megillah or ball of wax?
Thomas Jefferson famously said, “…the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions.” Government, said Jefferson, does not have the moral power to make a man’s opinions or thoughts illegal. Actions can be illegal, but not thoughts. We simply do not remove presidents from office because we have a puritanical disapproval of what they think.
As Hanson said, “Trump has been accused of thought crimes, not actual crimes. Trump can be indiscreet, even crude, in his speech. But alleged bad thoughts are not crimes — at least not outside George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.”
Democrats, the political descendants of Jefferson, are trying to do what Jefferson said is morally impossible, to condemn and punish President Trump for his thoughts. Shame on them.
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