A Wartime President

July 23, 2020
By Dale Holloway

President Donald Trump has said he considers himself a wartime president. Let's see, that would put him in the category of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and George W. Bush--men who displayed decisive and uniting leadership to the country and the world during a time of grave crisis. Trump has compared himself to Lincoln on multiple occasions. Hmm.

This week federal officers in full military combat gear arrested several protesters in Portland, Oregon, and detained them in unidentifiable vehicles. Many people, including the mayor of Portland, have objected strongly to the federal interference in the local and/or state matter. They insist the federal interference only escalated the problem. Now the Oregon attorney general is seeking a temporary restraining order to restrict federal law enforcement in Portland. He alleges that federal officers in unmarked vans were arresting protesters without probable cause.

The President has declared he's going to further exercise his "wartime powers" by sending more federal agents into major cities and override the will of local authorities. “I’m going to do something--that, I can tell you,” he told reporters. “Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these--Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats.”

What's wrong with the picture here? Plenty, but I'll just mention two issues of major concern to me.

First, Trump's actions are clearly motivated by politics. He's facing reelection and is seriously behind in all polls. A "wartime" president is decisive, so he had to do something to make himself look decisive. He knew that most of his base supporters would approve. Well, when a President makes such a consequential decision that has ramifications for the whole country based on politics, we as a nation are in trouble.

The second issue of grave concern to me is the potential constitutional issue this may raise: the federal government coming into a state or city and exercising police authority. If a state needs assistance with issues such as riots, the Governor of the state has the authority to temporarily activate the National Guard. For the federal government to interfere in the matter makes us no better than many of the countries with whom we've been fighting wars.

Once again, President Trump has demonstrated to the American people that he is incapable of effectively leading our country and bringing the healing we so desperately need. Instead of being a great leader he is a great divider. That's one reason why I cannot vote for him in the November election.