The day that few thought would ever come is upon us. Donald Trump takes the oath of office today and becomes President of the United States. The day is historic for many reasons. Among them the unprecedented level of division and rancor. Trump will enter the White House with the lowest approval ratings on record. And before he takes a single official act he will be the subject of investigations and suspicions related to his businesses and unsavory connections to Russia.
As a result of these controversies, many Democratic members of Congress have chosen to skip the inaugural proceedings. At last count there were more than sixty representatives planning not to represent. The decision to snub The Donald has been met with both praise and scorn. But the words of one congressman are particularly disturbing.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland will be attending the inauguration. However, in an interview on CNN, he defended those who have decided to stay away. What Cummings told Chris Cuomo should give every American pause:
“You’ve got to understand that we members of Congress have a lot of information that the public does not have. And I can tell you over the last week or two, the classified briefings that I have been to, and if the public knew what members of Congress know…”
With that he trailed off leaving a dramatic gap to be filled with our imaginations. Cummings can’t reveal the details to which he is alluding because they are classified. But it’s clear that he believes those details, if known, would justify boycotting Trump’s inauguration. This makes it imperative that Congress conduct fair and thorough investigations and disclose the results to the public. The legitimacy of Trump’s presidency, and our democracy, are at stake. Cummings said as much later in the CNN interview:
“This, to me, is bigger than President-elect Trump. I’m concerned that we are moving slowly but surely towards a crisis of a legitimacy with regard to our core institutions.”
Already we have learned that seventeen intelligence agencies agree that Russia has interfered with our election. That interference came in the form of cyber espionage and propaganda disseminated via fake news. Theses agencies also concluded that Russia’s intent was to benefit Trump and harm Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, they have evidence that these activities were approved at the highest level – i.e. Vladimir Putin. And that’s just what we already know.
Cummings is concerned that Republicans are giving Trump a pass by refusing to impanel a committee of inquiry. But if the briefings received by Congress contain information as serious as implied by Cummings, then boycotting the inauguration should be just the start. And Democrats need to step up their efforts to investigate and fully inform the American people.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.