The Oath Senators Take Means Something; Most Republicans Are Ignoring It

jrothstein
4 min readJun 22, 2020

June 21, 2020

By Joe Rothstein

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

That’s the oath newly elected members of the U.S. Senate swear to upon taking office. If the senator gets elected multiple times, he or she swears to it each time. The oath-taking ceremony is popular with members. Their families gather around them. Photos and video appear in media back home. But the ceremony is is not just a photo op. The law and Constitution require it.

Many of those now serving in the U.S. Senate, mostly all of the Republicans during the Trump presidency, have violated that oath and should be made to answer for it. If religious, they also will have to come to terms with what they swore to their god with their hand on a holy bible.

This is not a column about impeachment. That’s behind us. It’s not even a finding of guilt. The senators’ violations of oath are more basic than that. The Senate is responsible for policing threats to the Constitution and violations of the law. Failure to act is a violation itself.

Donald Trump’s lack of concern for the law and the Constitution are well documented. But his actions are possible only because Republican senators are either cheering him on or sitting as mute as the Minneapolis police officers who said and did nothing while watching George Floyd get murdered. Here are just a few of Trump’s actions that any senator with a sense of public responsibility would reasonably question:

Defiance of congressional subpoenas and congressional oversight.
This goes to heart of the Senate’s role as an equal branch of government. No law, no budget, no action by Congress matters if Congress loses the power to oversee how the executive branch is managing it.

Spending billions of dollars on a southern border wall not appropriated for that purpose.
The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse. Trump is using a phony “emergency” declaration to thwart it. Why aren’t senators challenging it? If this is okay, the whole appropriations process is pointless.

Trump’s casual and dangerous idea of national intelligence.
He gave out security clearances to people his own…

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