Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the American Health Care Act, otherwise known as ACA-Lite has died a painful death. Good riddance.
In Donald Trump’s eulogy, he said something that caught my attention.
This was an interesting period of time. We learned a lot about loyalty and we learned about the vote getting process.”
Then I saw this on Twitter.
The two things together got me thinking.
One can only speculate what Trump had in mind when he made his remarks, but my guess is that he felt that the House Freedom Caucus had been disloyal to…himself? The party? Hard to know for sure.
Austin Scott’s meaning, however, is very clear and I’m sure his constituents would be interested to learn that he believes Congressmen owe their loyalty to the President.
Congressmen don’t take an oath to support and defend the President. If they did it would just be creepy in the same way it was creepy in 2009 when these celebrities pledged allegiance to Barack Obama.
In fact, congressmen take an oath to support and defend the Constitution. It goes like this:
I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
What I don’t see mentioned there is the President or any political party whatsoever. I propose that a congressman’s primary responsibility is to the Constitution of the United States and that is where his loyalty should be directed.
After that? Oh, there is no “after that.” A congressman should never place loyalty to a party or person, even the President of the United States, above his loyalty to the Constitution. There will be times, hopefully many – even most – times, when the interests of the President and a political party align with adherence to the Constitution. That’s great, but when they don’t the Constitution must come first.
And, yes, I mean a congressman owes his allegiance to the Constitution over his responsibility to his constituents.
So Donald Trump can trash the House Freedom Caucus all he wants…
…But in my view, they are the heroes of this story. They honored the Constitution and honored the promises they made to their constituents. I hope Trump really did learn something about the “vote getting process.” I hope he learned that the President isn’t a CEO and that Congress is in no way obligated to do his bidding.