Why do I like President Donald Trump? Simply because he is an unapologetic nationalist — think “Make America Great Again” and “America First." That alone makes him an exemplary president of the United States.
The president is supposed to be a fiduciary to the American electorate, the people who own the federal government and who choose the president in the first place. A president who pursues the best interests of the free world, of the planet, of social justice, of future generations or of any interest besides the exclusive interest of the U.S. citizenry is a faithless executive who ought to be corrected or removed from office. That does not describe Mr. Trump.
The articles of impeachment against President Trump concede this point. The House of Representatives accused President Trump of abusing "the powers of the Presidency … to obtain an improper personal political benefit,” “ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests.”
However, President Trump has repeatedly proven his fidelity to American voters, who are the most authoritative arbiters of “national security and other vital national interests.”
Starting with the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Trump published a judicial nominations list, empowering voters with an unprecedented opportunity to exercise democratic accountability over their government and its interpretation of the Constitution.
President Trump stuck to his word, appointing two from that list — and hopefully more yet — to the Supreme Court of the United States. Democratic candidates in 2020 and all future presidential candidates thereafter, should continue this practice.
To this day, President Trump still prioritizes voters’ interests in his domestic and foreign policy. Reducing the tax burden, repealing the individual mandate, promoting hydrocarbon energy production, rescinding DACA, withdrawing from the Paris climate-change agreement and the Iran nuclear deal, reducing American military deployments in the Middle East, and demanding reciprocity from foreign trade counterparts and military allies. This all exemplifies an “Americans First” approach to government. Call it the Trump Doctrine.
But no president is the ultimate authority on voters’ best interests. Voters are.
Fiduciaries such as lawyers, doctors, and civil servants — including politicians and unelected bureaucrats alike — exist to serve their clients. They work for you. Never vice-versa. And never in pursuit of some “greater good” above a client’s self-determination.
Accordingly, every civil servant in the executive branch owes voters a duty to act subordinate to the president, who, as chief executive, is the sole executive official whom voters actually elected.
The challenge — both to civil servants and the president — is that the president serves clients with inconsistent and often times adverse interests. Within the electorate, the president represents employers and employees, buyers and sellers, plaintiffs and defendants, producers and consumers. Nobody presiding over a diverse society containing hundreds of millions of people can please all of them, or even benefit them all equally.
Consequently, it is guaranteed that a large fraction of voters will be deeply dissatisfied with their president and will oppose his agenda. So in a system dominated by two political parties and complemented with independent voters, the president may rarely achieve majority approval.
Therefore, an unelected civil servant can willfully undermine the president while convincing himself that he is actually a more faithful fiduciary to voters, or to the Constitution, than the president is.
Hence the ballot box. If voters want to elect a president with a different agenda — a president who treats citizens and non-citizens equally, who defers to the international community on matters of national security, who inhibits economic growth for the sake of nobler goals — it is their prerogative.
Sovereignty, safety, and prosperity are citizens’ to give away, not the government’s to steal. A culture of subordination within the executive branch is necessary in order for voters to effectively steer their government, rather than to be ruled by it.
That is why the current impeachment drama is so troubling. The case against President Trump depends entirely upon the testimony of insubordinate civil servants employed in the executive branch: unelected bureaucrats who elevated their own conscience above voters’ electoral judgment, couching their policy disagreements in ethical terms.
Congress should not remove the president “in a fit of partisan rage because one party still cannot accept the American people’s choice in 2016,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Sen. McConnell is correct. During an election year, it should go without saying that voters deserve final say on whether President Trump remains in office.
Let voters Keep America Great.
Lew Jan Olowski (email@example.com) is a Maryland attorney.