On October 3, President Donald J. Trump stood in the driveway of the White House and, in the presence of the assembled reporters and camera crews, called on China to investigate one of his 2020 election rivals, former Vice President Joseph Biden, and Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
Three days earlier, the White House had released a rough transcript of President Trump’s telephone call with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Mr. Trump requested that President Zelensky have Ukraine investigate the Bidens.
In his October 3 White House driveway comments, President Trump said Ukraine also should investigate the Bidens.
The president, in his own words on the transcript and in the White House driveway, is asking two foreign powers to come up with information he can use for his benefit against a domestic political rival.
Mr. Trump is using the levers of government to pursue his own personal political ends.
In doing so, he has violated his oath of office. He should be impeached by the House, convicted by the Senate and removed from the presidency.
As political reporter Bob Woodward notes in his book, “Fear,” the president is beset by a deep and long-standing fear of losing—a fear instilled in him at an early age by the admonitions of his father, real estate developer Fred Trump.
To that end, he will do anything—even betray the oath he swore on his inauguration to uphold the Constitution—to avoid losing, or be seen as a loser.
For all his bluster and braggadocio, he also is a deeply insecure man.
The one thing he absolutely cannot stand is to hear it suggested that the biggest achievement of his life—winning the presidency of the United States—is illegitimate in any way.
That chip on his shoulder—the latest and biggest of chips that go back to when he was a real estate developer in one of New York City’s outer boroughs, trying to work his way into the upscale world of Manhattan—has colored his entire presidency.
The irony is that Donald Trump won the 2016 election legitimately. Under the rules of the game, he received the necessary Electoral College votes to win the most powerful job in the world.
Donald Trump, in fact, has far more claim to a legitimate presidential election than either George W. Bush, who squeezed into the seat in 2000 via a Supreme Court decision on some shaky Florida vote counts, or the sainted John F. Kennedy, put over the top in 1960 with the help of machinations in Illinois so questionable that his opponent, Richard Nixon, seriously considered challenging the election.
What lost the election for the Democrats in 2016 was not the appearance of embarrassing information on the campaign from Russian hackers via WikiLeaks, but offering the electorate a seriously flawed nominee who called supporters of Mr. Trump “a basket of deplorables” and didn’t even bother to make a campaign stop in Wisconsin.
All that said, any other president in any other time doing what Mr. Trump has done, even before the July 25 Ukraine phone call, likely would have been impeached by now on at least one of two grounds: either of violations of the heretofore obscure emoluments clause, forbidding a president to profit personally from his office, which President Trump has blithely ignored; or of his extensive efforts to halt the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mr. Trump, however, so far has so cowed the Republican majority in the Senate with his grip on the party base that the GOP members either defend his actions or try to avoid discussing the matter.
What matters now is what Trump has unquestionably done.
It matters what he said in that July 25 call in the wake of inexplicably halting $400 million in badly needed military aid voted by a bipartisan Congress to help an American ally, Ukraine, defend itself in a hot war with Russian-backed rebels.
As Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut pointed out Tuesday on National Public Radio, the quid pro quo did not even have to occur between the American and Ukrainian presidents—it was enough for Mr. Trump to say what he did, which amounted to extortion to advance his own political ends.
It matters that, on October 3 in the White House driveway, the president linked the request to China to investigate the Bidens to trade talks with that nation, a major American trading partner. Again, the president was putting his own political ends ahead of the well-being of the nation.
The fact that his last name is Trump does not and should not buy him immunity. Given this fact set, a president with any other name—Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan—who took the same actions and said the same things would have been impeached and removed from office.
President Trump has put his own perceived needs ahead of the security and welfare of the United States.
The House should vote to impeach him. The Senate should vote to convict and remove him. Then America will get a new president, and the nation can move forward.