As reported by the Associated Press, the Donald Trump “unpresidented” tweet in which he misspelled “unprecedented” will provide endless fodder for late-night comedians and Facebook memes. But could Donald Trump himself literally become unpresidented. Are there already sufficient grounds for a Donald Trump impeachment once he takes office?
That sound you just heard was 10,000 future Trump biographers rushing at once to copyright the title "Unpresidented."
— Life's Scary Enough (@BilgeEbiri) December 17, 2016
Impeaching Donald Trump
Unpresidented might not be a word – yet – but it nicely describes the process of removing Donald Trump from the presidency. The impeachment of Trump – or any president – requires that certain criteria be met before the steps involved in impeachment even begin.
Article II, Section IV of the U.S. Constitution permits the removal of the president, vice president, or any other civil officers from their respective offices by impeachment and conviction for bribery, treason, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
If Donald Trump's collusion with Russia doesnt qualify as "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" I don't know what is.
— Edgar Betancourt (@metropoliswi) December 11, 2016
The process by which we might see Donald Trump unpresidented starts in the U.S. House of Representatives, where a committee determines whether there are grounds for impeachment. If they find there are, the full House votes on whether impeachment is justified. If the majority votes for one or more articles of impeachment, the process moves on to the Senate.
Technically, impeachment would not mean that Donald Trump was unpresidented yet. Impeachment essentially means that the sitting president – whoever it is – has been charged with wrongdoing that would meet the criteria set out above for impeachment.
How to use unpresidented in a sentence:
"After the Senate votes to convict him in an impeachment trial, Donald Trump will be unpresidented"
— modest proposal (@modestproposal1) December 17, 2016
To actually remove Donald Trump once he has been impeached by the House, a trial would have to be convened in which the Senate would serve as the jury and the chief justice of the Supreme Court would preside as judge. If two-thirds of the Senate vote for conviction, the president can be removed from office.
Why Make Donald Trump Unpresidented?
Donald Trump will apparently come into the White House without having clearly divested himself of properties and financial interests that might represent a conflict of interest between his duties as president and the profitability of his various business enterprises.
According to the Associated Press, the lease he signed with the Government Services Administration indicates that Trump might need to sell his interest in the newly christened Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. This lease makes it clear that – as president – Trump would not be allowed to continue his association with the hotel.
But even worse than this, Trump has largely avoided creating a genuine firewall between himself and his business interests. Instead of selling off properties and placing the revenues from such sales in a blind trust – as previous presidents have done – Trump instead claims he will put control of these companies in the hands of his two sons. But how effective will that be in distancing Trump from his investments?
Trump was to release a clear plan regarding the management of his various businesses two days ago, but the day came and went without such a plan being unveiled. And as reported by CNN it has now been pushed back to January.
Trump’s conflicting financial interests are multitudinous. For instance, there is the post-election contact that Trump has already had with Indian investors, as well as the call to the president of Argentina regarding a hotel in Buenos Aires. These incidents make it clear that the Donald Trump unpresidented option should definitely be on the table if Trump won’t distance himself from his business.
The fact is that many of the Trump family members – the same ones who would supposedly be running his businesses – are part of the transition team and are also participating in meetings with foreign leaders. This would seem to call in question Donald Trump’s ability to impartially carry out his duties as president of the United States.
A new bill introduced by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren would make a Trump impeachment trial even more likely. This bill would invoke the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which indicates that the president cannot “accept any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign state.” So if this bill passes and he keeps his current businesses, a Donald Trump unpresidented situation might just be a possibility.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]