I spent some time on the phone the other day with the offices of our U.S. senators in Washington D.C. and came away feeling worse.

The president of the United States saw fit to tell women of color who are duly elected to serve in the government that they would be better to go “back to the broken and crime infested place from which they came.” Of course they actually came from New York, Minnesota and Massachusetts; only one was born outside this country, in Somalia.

How far off the path of decency do we allow this president and our senators to go?

No, I do not agree with much of what the ladies of the Congress may say, but their constituents voted for them to be there and there they should be.

Disagreement with the president is not “hating America.” It is called opposition to the party in power. One can disagree with an idea, indeed with a person, without hating the other in the equation.

Many will laugh and say it is “just a joke,” but Trump does not really joke. He seems to be singularly without wit or real humor. Rather he pokes fun at both men and women, although women fair the worse in his lexicon of “jokes.”

Instead of clarity in policy, he tends to lash out with “my way or the highway,” which is not really the construct of our government.

We have always disagreed since that hot Philadelphia summer when slavery was tearing the Continental Congress apart…so we had a compromise. That compromise got the country started though it sadly took nearly a century to address it anew.

Voices are raised constantly in the workings of the government, sometimes for show, sometimes to a purpose. But freedom of speech allows for a lot of space between ideas and miles and miles of speech before you “hate America.” Hating America is not on a parallel with disagreeing or evening hating the style, policies and direction of any one administration.

Mr. Trump is not standing tall in a moment of great assault on the institution of the presidency. He is merely name-calling as he has so often done. But assailing the rights of women, duly elected, to speak and act in their capacity as governmental instruments needs to stop.

I called Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis’ offices today because I have heard not one peep out of them all day…my call was made just before 5 p.m. so they had what most folks would call “all day” to say something, anything.

Crickets. Peepers.Silence.

Silence betokens agreement. Silence in such a case is equal to weakness and cowardice. Mr. Trump is wrong to tweet or speak such sentiments. Oh, of course, he too has freedom of speech as well as the next guy, but when you take on the mantle of president of all citizens, some other restraints come into play.

He should listen more and speak/tweet less. He should be studying how all of the government is meant to work, what the checks and balances mean. I don’t get the feeling that those ideals mean a lot to him.

Every statement anyone says is either “yes you are on my team and therefore good” or “you are not and therefore to be humiliated, hated, discounted and bullied.”

He said in his acceptance speech: “ I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.” Apparently that does not include members of the Congress nor anyone who stands to disagree, be they a member of government, press or judge. All too often this man has chosen to say something like “go back to your country” or “he is from Mexico” or “fake news.”

I do not agree with these women on policy. But if I am to give Trump the respect of his office — while disagreeing with much of his policies, personal actions and speech — then surely that respect should flow toward the House and Senate.

If we sent someone “home” every time they disagreed, I am sure the Native American nations would be very happy to take up where they left off.

(15) comments

Sally Larson

Joyce, I agree with your assessment of our President, he has no respect for our elected officials or for the office of the President.

Mark Hayes

There is a book deal in all of this, a sequel of " What Happened ", to " What Just Happened ".

Richard Wright

Appears the author has ignored or is tone deaf to the constant cry that Trump colluded with the Russians until he did not. Or maybe he obstructed justice although he allowed the investigation to run it's course without his interference and with all the needs asked for by the Special Prosecutor. The Democrats have used every trick to overturn the election.

Jim Tomashoff

"...he [Trump] obstructed justice although he allowed the investigation to run it's course without his interference..." Writes Richard. Clearly Richard has chosen not to read the 10 instances where Mueller, in Volume II, spells out, in detail, where Trump engaged in acts of deliberate obstruction of the Mueller Investigation. Is this ignorance or willful ignorance. Clearly it is the latter. The Mueller Report is available on-line for free. Richard has chosen not to read it. Or, he has read it, but he does not understand it. Either way, his sentence that I cited is simply wrong. As we'll all see tomorrow.

Richard Wright

Jim - I read it. Sorry sir, but my sentence as written is correct. President Trump's administration gave Mueller any and everything he asked for from them. Read the Starr report to see the difference in style and content where Starr mentioned ten instances where Clinton obstructed justice. What you might do Jim is read the federal statute on obstruction. Even you should be able to distinguish what Mueller says was done to the elements of the law. Mueller admitted that he completed the probe completely and there was no collusion. He received all the resources he requested. He was not limited in his examination by the President only by his failure to look into the real collusion between the DNC, Steele and the Russians. There was no underlying crime. I recommend you read the law, read the exact language used in the report and then tell us what obstruction occurred to limit or influence an investigation into a crime that was not committed. Go ahead, we are waiting.

Jim Tomashoff

I've read both volumes of the Mueller report. Mueller wrote: "As set forth in our report, after that investigation, if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.” Your wait is now over. He listed 10 specific actions Trump took as examples of obstruction. This morning Mueller will be asked, in these exact words, or in words to this affect, "If Donald Trump were not the President, but was an ordinary citizen, would you have indicted him for the crime of "Obstruction of Justice"? That's what I"m waiting for. Mueller also made a distinction between cooperation and the crime of a criminal conspiracy with Russia to influence the 2016 Presidential election. He found nearly 100 instances where officials in the Trump Campaign meet with and exchanged information with individual Russians acting on behalf of Moscow's efforts to influence the election. He could not find enough evidence to conclude under law that Trump himself did so.

Jim Tomashoff

OK Richard, here it is. Well it's not exactly how I would have liked to have seen the question posed, I think Mueller's answer leaves little doubt that had Trump been a private citizen, based on the evidence Mueller's investigation into obstruction of justice found, he would be indicted on that charge. "Despite President Donald Trump’s repeated insistence that former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was a “total exoneration,” Mueller on Wednesday confirmed it was not. In an exchange between him and House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Nadler asked directly whether the report totally exonerated the president. “No,” Mueller said. “It is not what the report said.” The statement came during Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential obstruction of justice committed by the president. This is not the first time that Mueller has said the investigation didn’t exonerate the president. At a press conference in May, he was clear that “if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.” In his report, Mueller wrote that he could not determine that the president did not commit a crime, but cited an Office of Legal Counsel opinion that a sitting president could not be indicted while in office — an opinion which was reiterated during the testimony. “Is it correct that if you had concluded that the president committed the crime of obstruction, you could not publicly state that in your report or here today?” Nadler asked. “The statement would be that you would not indict,” Mueller said. “Under the OLC opinion, a sitting president cannot be indicted. It would be unconstitutional.” Some time after the exchange, the GOP doubled down on theirs and the president’s claim that the report had found “no collusion.” n his opening remarks, Mueller stated that he did not address collusion in his report, because it “is not a legal term.”

Richard Wright

Jim - Mueller developed a new criteria in legal jurisprudence - we could not exonerate the President. Mueller's testimony today was at best rambling and muddled. At worse, he lied. Much of his report was little but a quoting of news articles. There was no collusion. None. Come on - explain away the DNC paying Fusion GPS to gather info through a British national from Russian sources. The report says that the issue of obstruction is a difficult one of law and fact. The bottom line - Mueller hired a Clinton lawyer to be his deputy --- and this deputy ran and wrote the report. You forgot that Mueller changed his statement to Lieu. So Jim - there was no collusion (or conspiracy which is how the law speaks to collusion). There could be no obstruction as there was no underlying crime, Mueller was never impeded in his investigation - staff, funds, subpoenas or evidence. Mueller's performance was not what the left needed. So now we have heard - Trump will not accept the election results if he looses but he won and now the left refuses to acknowledge his victory. The left said Mueller will get to the booth of this, wait till you see what he finds and Trump will be cooked. Did not happen. Then wait till Mueller testifies, we will find his words compelling. Now you are just making up things, trying to take a few sentences and draw a half baked conclusion. So keep up the good fight.

Jim Tomashoff

Your write: "There could be no obstruction as there was no underlying crime, Mueller was never impeded in his investigation." Trump clearly tried to obstruct justice. The law does not require that the obstruction of justice has to be successful for it to be a crime. For instance: "The crime is obstruction of justice — not “obstruction of crime.” In other words, the law doesn’t require prosecutors to show that the alleged “obstructer” did the bad deed of interfering with an investigation because he wanted to cover up some other crime. If you bully a witness because you hate the prosecutor and want to make her working life difficult out of spite, that counts. Mueller himself explains that “obstruction-of-justice law reaches all corrupt conduct capable of producing an effect that prevents justice from being duly administered, regardless of the means employed.” In other words, “the verbs obstruct or impede are broad and can refer to anything that blocks, makes difficult, or hinders.” As a matter of law, Trump need not be guilty of criminally conspiring with the Russians in order to be guilty of obstruction. His attempts to stymie Mueller’s probe can constitute obstruction of justice regardless of conspiracy or “collusion." thehill.com/opinion/white-house/439880-the-thorny-part-of-obstruction-of-justice-is-proving-intent-now-thats-a "Ted Lieu, the congressman from California who has long been one of President Trump’s chief Twitter antagonists, got to make his case against the President in an official setting on Wednesday. Like many of his Democratic colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee, Lieu spent much of his time allotted for questioning Robert Mueller recounting the details laid out in the report that Mueller and his team produced this spring. “So to recap what we’ve heard,” Lieu said. “We have heard today that the President ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire you. The President then ordered Don McGahn to then cover that up and create a false paper trail. And now we’ve heard the President ordered Corey Lewandowski to tell Jeff Sessions to limit your investigation, so that you stop investigating the President. I believe a reasonable person, looking at these facts, could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met.” Lieu then quickly swerved into a question. “I’d like to ask you,” he said. “The reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of the O.L.C. opinion”—a reference to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel—“stating that you cannot indict a sitting President. Correct?” “That is correct,” Mueller said. "Mueller spoke about the issue [obstruction of justice]at further length under questioning by Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado. “Was there sufficient evidence to convict President Trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice?” Buck asked. “We did not make that calculation,” Mueller said, citing the O.L.C. opinion. Buck countered that, despite the O.L.C. opinion, Mueller had come to a conclusion that the President hadn’t colluded with Russia. “But when it came to obstruction, you threw a bunch of stuff up against the wall to see what would stick,” he said. Mueller said that he wouldn’t agree with that “characterization.” “O.K., but could you charge the President with a crime after he left office?” Buck asked. “Yes,” Mueller said calmly. “You believe that he committed—you could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?” Buck asked, again. “Yes.” www.newyorker.com/news/current/muellers-testimony-strongly-suggests-that-trump-would-be-indicted-if-he-werent-the-president?utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_source=nl&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=TNY_Daily_072419&utm_medium=email&bxid=5be9ed333f92a404691acd1d&cndid=25885063&esrc=&utm_term=TNY_Daily What more do you need? If you still don't get it I'm at a loss as to what additional "facts" you need in order to understand that Mueller is indicating that if Trump was just an average citizen he (Mueller) had gathered enough evidence to indict him of obstruction of justice, thus his conclusion that after Trump leaves office, hopefully on January 20, 2021, he could be, and by law should be, indicted immediately of this crime.

ken leary

Why don't you write a column explaining why you disagree with "these women's" policies. Trump is a sideshow who has somehow mesmerized the country into stupidly following his every idiotic utterance. In that he is brilliant. Did you vote for Hillary? If so you participated in electing Trump by helping her cheat to win the primary.

Kent Misegades

TDS on display.

Suzanne Martin

One does wonder how future presidencies will be effected by the repeated precedents set by this administration. More that anything else this is what concerns me. So can we expect this behavior from future presidents? Probably so. Because we have already said "meh" to the behavior of this president. It's not even that there is a low bar - there is no bar.

Richard Wright

Well you can certainly expect, if one of the 22 running wins, the Republicans to act with more decorum and grace than the democrats have for the last two plus years.

Suzanne Martin

Where is the evidence for that? Certainly not what I saw during the Obama presidency. Remember "you lie" during the SOTU? I can provide lots more examples.

Richard Wright

Give us more examples please. And isn't it true that Obama lied - about keeping your doctor, about knowing Hillary had a private email address, that Islam is a religion of peace, if Syria violates the Red Line there will be consequences -- and on and on.

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