The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.

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President Trump Is Violating the Constitution

Leah Dunbar, '18, Staff Writer

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A current point of controversy in Trump’s new presidency is his apparent frequent violation of the constitution. On almost a daily basis, President Trump has violated clauses from the constitution and many American citizens are left hoping for accountability. Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the US Constitution forbids Trump from engaging many of the activities he is already pursuing. On each of the more than 30 days that Trump has been living in the White House, he has broken the Emoluments Clause. When Trump accepts money from foreign countries, maintains ownership of his business, involves his family in White House affairs, and accepts endorsements for his relatives from so called politicians, he disregards the Emoluments Clause’s sole purpose: to ensure that the president is focused on leading the United States–and nothing else.

An emolument is defined as money or other benefits you derive from a job or office you hold. This clause was initially created as a response to good old Benjamin Franklin accepting a snuff box from the king of France. While writing a clause in to the Constitution to reprimand Ben Franklin may seem unnecessary and overbearing, our current state of affairs shows why the clause is critical to the devotion of the president to their country. Presidents are not required to give up businesses that may cause conflicts of interest when taking office. However, according to Libby Nelson, a political reporter, every president since Richard Nixon has done so in order to “ensure trust in government and to provide an example for their subordinates, who are legally required to eliminate conflicts of interest.” As Trump has not followed suit, every time he makes a profit from his international hotels and businesses, he is violating the constitution. Eric Lipton and Adam Liptak, reporters for the New York Times, provide a list of Trump’s acts that they believe break this clause, including “payments from patrons at Trump hotels and golf courses; loans for his office buildings from certain banks controlled by foreign governments; and leases with tenants like the Abu Dhabi tourism office, a government enterprise.” They acknowledge that the framers of our constitution rightfully feared the failure of a republic due to foreign powers corrupting our elected leaders. As Trump accepts thousands of dollars from foreign leaders and businesses on a regular basis, many American citizens are becoming more concerned about how much of the president’s focus will actually be on the United States.

will actually be on the United States. In addition to maintaining ownership of his multiple hotels and resorts, Trump has also broken the Emolument Clause by allowing fellow politicians to use their public roles to endorse his relatives’ businesses. One example of this came when Kellyanne Conway endorsed Ivanka Trump’s products. While Conway’s recommendation that viewers “go buy [Ivanka’s] stuff” may seem like a mindless endorsement, Conway described it as a “free commercial,” making these statements a day after President Trump called out Nordstrom for dropping his daughter’s fashion line. The Washington Post notes that “Conway’s remarks drew a sharp and unusual rebuke from a top Republican lawmaker, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who said that Conway’s comments were ‘absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong’ and ‘clearly over the line.’” While this marks a notable change in the attitude of Trump’s Republican colleagues, it by no means guarantees that this behavior will end.

Another way Trump has ignored the Emoluments Clause is his consultation of family members when making decisions. This does not directly lead to him making money or benefits. Despite this, by including his family in making such decisions, Trump is allowing himself to be influenced by the personal desires of his family. Timothy L. O’Brien, editor and writer for the New York Times, reveals that while including experienced managers in his cabinet in the decision-making process, “Trump merely sees them as hood ornaments atop the little engine of state he’s building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” and “he has often tightened the circle further to family members” when making important decisions. This puts the entire country at risk as Trump is increasingly inclined to make choices based on the wishes of a small circle of people instead of the millions of citizens that will be affected by these changes.

Unfortunately, there is a good chance that Trump will continue to engage in these illegal and immoral behaviors without consequences. Although a lawsuit was recently filed against Trump citing the multiple ways in which he has broken the Emoluments Clause, Congress has the final say on whether he is punished or not. It will be necessary for Congress to decide to impeach the president before anyone can force him to stop. As Congress has repeatedly refused to acknowledge Trump’s break with tradition on ethical issues, they likely will let him get away with this constitutional violation. While a great deal of the country fears that Trump’s ignorance of the document at the heart of the United States, it is crucial to remember that everyone has an impact, and there is never a lack of ways to get involved. So, if you fear for the future of the United States as so many do, do not stop at reading articles about the ominous future; call your senators, attend rallies, set up protests. If the leaders of our country are not looking out for citizens, the least we can do is cause a commotion until they are forced to do so.

Pennsylvania Senator Robert P Casey Jr-  (215) 405-9660

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey-  (215) 241-1090

White House- (202) 456-1111

The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.
President Trump Is Violating the Constitution