In a Saturday op-ed for The Washington Post, conservative author Max Boot addressed Donald Trump‘s recent acquittal by the Senate and his fears that it positions the president to continue doing what he wants without consequence.
Boot said that Trump has “barely survived” Robert Mueller‘s investigation and the impeachment trial on the two articles of impeachment passed against him, as well as the president’s response to each.
“Each time he should have emulated President Bill Clinton’s example by apologizing for his conduct, asking forgiveness and trying to bring the country together,” Boot wrote, adding that Trump instead pursued “retribution” over “reconciliation.”
Boot then pointed to Trump’s attack on Utah Sen. Mitt Romney on Thursday and the “Friday night massacre” that came the following day. The phrase refers to Trump’s firing or senior White House official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and former ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland — both of whom testified against the president in the impeachment probe.
The Russian-born author also pointed to Donald Trump Jr.’s tweet on Frida evening, which thanked impeachment manager Adam Schiff for helping the White House determine who needed to be fired.
“Were it not for his crack investigation skills, @realDonaldTrump might have had a tougher time unearthing who all needed to be fired. Thanks, Adam!” Trump Jr. tweeted.
Trump's acquittal speech vs. Clinton's acquittal speech pic.twitter.com/D35omDgiwA— The Recount (@therecount) February 6, 2020
According to Boot, the Trumps confessed to violating 18 U.S. Code § 1513, which he notes is a “federal law that protects whistleblowers from retaliation.”
Regardless, Boot noted that Trump was not likely to be prosecuted.
“Trump is unchastened, unchained and unhinged,” Boot wrote in the conclusion of his article.
“I fear for the future of our democracy with such a vindictive bully wielding the awesome powers of the presidency with less and less restraint. He is making an example of all those who have exposed his misconduct in the past to ensure that he can get away with even greater wrongdoing in the future.”
Former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt has expressed his belief that Trump’s acquittal will grant him unprecedented powers, likening him to a king or emperor, while Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham said he is now “functionally” a monarch.
Other experts and historians expressed worry over the precedent that the acquittal will set for future impeachments. Attorney James Robenalt pointed to the arguments used by Trump’s team of lawyers — which included Alan Dershowitz — during the impeachment trial and suggested they created a “huge danger” that will have negative consequences on future impeachments.