What is appropriate behavior for a president? That topic is much in the news lately. Consider these excerpts from a most-excellent article by Victor Davis Hanson, on the topic of President Trump’s tweets: [emphasis added to quotes]
Start with the given that there are now regrettably few accepted norms of presidential behavior. Trump’s occasional uncouthness is a symptom, not a catalyst, of the times. Bill Clinton redefined presidential behavior when he had sexual relations with a 22-year-old, unpaid intern (so much for power imbalances as sexual harassment) in the presidential bathroom off the Oval Office, lied about his recklessness to his family and the country, smeared Monica Lewinsky, and then wheeled out to the Rose Garden feminist cabinet officers like Madeline Albright and Donna Shalala to deny and defend his unsavory predatory behavior. After that sordid episode, the apologetic Left lost all credibility as an arbiter of presidential norms. …
Out of office, Bush professionally kept quiet and busy as an accomplished artist, as Obama moved the country leftward. For that, Bush was ridiculed by the Left as reduced to a bewildered, paint-by-numbers dabbler.
The emeritus Obama, by contrast, frolics on billionaires’ yachts docked off tropical islands with the mega-rich whom he attacks in Wall Street chats for $10,000 a minute—and takes a day off from his wind surfing to weigh in on Trump’s unfitness. For all that, he remains a progressive icon.
From that brief Bush hiatus, it was a short slide back down to GloZell and Obama’s adoration in the White House of Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” (read some of the “ho’s”, “n—as”, and racist lyrics of that album and cf. the celebration over the corpse of a judge on the cover).
Okay. But what about former presidential behavior?
We here know only too well the hypocrisy of the left, the mainstream media, and the man formerly known as president–Barack Hussein Obama–who’s given not only to “frolics” on yachts and long vacations in mansions lent by billionaires but who also seems to believe that he’s still president.
Obama scurries around the globe, either shadowing the very real President Trump or hurriedly preceding him, speaking to world leaders as if he still counts among them, behaving like a virtual Petyr Baelish, scheming and interfering in, if not actively undermining, Trump’s foreign policy.
As the New York Times should agree, that is at least arguably a violation of the law.
The Logan Act reads:
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
Consider what South Korean media said about Obama’s recent meeting with their president, only days after President Trump met President Moon Jae-in:
President Moon Jae-in renewed his resolve to pursue sanctions and dialogue to tackle North Korea’s nuclear program during a meeting with former US President Barack Obama on Monday, saying now is the “last chance” for the regime to return to the negotiating table.
During the 40-minute talk, Moon shared the results of his recent summit with his incumbent US counterpart Donald Trump, asking for Obama’s advice on ways to advance the relationship.
It’s quite interesting that the writer gave Obama the title President (capital P) but did not give the actual president that courtesy, oddly referring to President Trump as Obama’s “incumbent US counterpart.”
The story goes on to recount that Obama had just come from the Asian Leadership Conference (is he an Asian leader?) where Obama roundly criticized the actual U.S. President for daring to suggest that Obama had been weak on North Korea and also had the outrageous gall to suggest that there’s currently a
temporary absence of American leadership,
all because President Trump (thank goodness) withdrew from the Paris “climate change” agreement. One might safely conclude that a global climate agreement and the nature of North Korea’s nuclear threat constitute “disputes” or “controversies.”
It’s interesting that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was accused by the mainstream media and the Democrats of potentially violating the Logan Act because he obliquely and only allegedly discussed with the Russian ambassador the sanctions that Obama had placed on Russia right before President Trump was inaugurated.
This “fact”–if it is fact–is known only because Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador were apparently recorded by the Obama NSA, someone in Obama’s administration apparently (perhaps illegally) unmasked Flynn’s name, and the (potentially distorted) content of his conversations were then illegally leaked to the media, culminating in the witch hunt that caused Flynn’s resignation from the Trump administration.
Flynn was a private citizen at the time that he allegedly discussed U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador. That, the media cried, potentially violated the Logan Act.
Ironic, then, that erstwhile president Obama recently discussed U.S. sanctions on North Korea with the South Korean president, at least arguably interfering with or trying to influence the conduct of the current president’s foreign policy.
What are the odds that Obama had been authorized by Trump to engage the South Korean president at this time of crisis? Questionable, isn’t it?
But, some may say, the South Korean president sought Obama’s advice on how to “advance the relationship” with President Trump. Certainly without doubt there are “disputes” and “controversies” between foreign governments and President Trump based upon false perceptions about Trump that the media propagate throughout the world.
Putting aside the law, is it seemly for Obama to discuss with President Moon Jae-in “the results of his recent summit” with Trump, who will this very week meet again with the South Korean president at the G-20 summit to which, of course, Obama is not invited?
Isn’t it curious that Obama visited Europe around the time of Trump’s first G-7 meeting and then visited South Korea ahead of Trump’s first G-20 summit, right in the midst of a crisis with North Korea?
Notably silent on the topic of a potential violation of the Logan Act by Obama are the Democrats and the mainstream media, including the New York Times, which was quick to accuse Flynn of that particular felony.
Notably silent on the topic of unseemly behavior by a former president, who promised otherwise, are the Democrats and the mainstream media.
Imagine their outrage had former president George W. Bush preceded or shadowed his successor Obama throughout the world, meeting with foreign leaders before or after they met with Obama!
You’d think that some one among them all would be curious enough to ask whether Trump had given permission to Obama to meet with foreign leaders and give them his own opinions on the Paris climate accord, Trump’s relationship with President Moon Jae-in, and the North Korean missile crisis.
Wouldn’t you like to know the answer to that unasked question?