Give thanks for President Trump

July 26, 2018 6:15 am

President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation hold a working lunch | July 16, 2018. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Raise your hand if you ever talked about the emoluments clause in our Constitution until about 18 months ago.

Most Americans never heard of it before Donald Trump became president.

Many Americans, in fact, knew nothing at all about the Constitution beyond the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, though they generally ignored that pesky little phrase about “a well regulated militia.”

The emoluments clause has never really gotten a lot of press because, before Trump came along, it didn’t matter much. Now it does. It’s in the Constitution, which we now have a good reason to read.

Thanks, Trump.

In fact, Trump deserves our thanks for a great many accomplishments during his time in office.

He, along with his enablers in Virginia, such as Republican U.S. Reps. Dave Brat, Barbara Comstock and Scott Taylor, along with Corey Stewart, the GOP’s candidate for U.S. Senate, have certainly energized what had become a pretty lusterless women’s movement.

Where would the movement be today without Trump’s recorded “locker room” bragging with Billy Bush on that bus?

Sure, Trump got no small amount of help from other celebrities — Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey, for example — but would there be such a vibrant “Me too” movement without Trump? Would Brat have those women “up in his grill?”

Would Virginia have so many women running for Congress — Abigail Spanberger, Jennifer Wexton, Elaine Luria, Vangie Williams, Leslie Cockburn, Jennifer Lewis — without Trump and his entourage? Putting that many viable women candidates on the ballot is quite an accomplishment.

Even the long moribund Equal Rights Amendment is back on the table. Anyone who can put a spark into that deserves an “attaboy.”

Thanks Trump.

Immigration, too, has become important to people who never gave it a moment’s thought. The U.S. has always been very hard on immigrants from countries to our immediate south — people of color, in other words — but the government’s actions were generally ignored. Not anymore.

Now, immigration is in the news and we talk about it all the time. Without it, we’d be wasting all our time talking about e-mail servers, 40-year-old real estate deals and impeachment proceedings.

Instead we’re talking about snatching children away from parents who have come to America to seek refuge and asylum. Now that’s worth talking about.

Thanks Trump.

The president of the United States, since at least World War II, has had to bear the burden of being “the leader of the free world.” At least that’s what we were told. Well, we can take a breath because that burden has been lifted. These days, our country is being pretty much ignored on the world stage, except as a curiosity or target of ridicule.

Life is so much easier when you’re not looked to for leadership. In fact, it looks like Russia wants to take over as world leader, and we seem to be OK with that.

Thanks Trump.

We can thank Trump and the gang for so much more.

Would we be talking about our relationship with Russia so loudly, if not for Trump? Not since the says of Ronald Reagan have we bothered so incessantly with Russia. It’s good to have them back.

Would we be talking about what constitutes free speech and whether there are “some very fine people” who are white nationalists or members of the Ku Klux Klan?

Would we be arguing over Supreme Court nominees? Without Trump, it’s likely we wouldn’t even have nominees because the Republican Senate wouldn’t even consider voting on a nominee from a Democratic president. Because we have Trump, we don’t have to put up with that.

Would we see so many young voters out there stumping for their candidates? Other than Liberty University, which in the past actually bused students to the polls, have college campuses been so energized since the 1960s?

For all of that, and for so much more, thanks Trump.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Gordon Hickey
Gordon Hickey

Gordon Hickey is a lifelong reporter and editor who worked for more than 20 years at The Richmond News Leader and Richmond Times-Dispatch covering law enforcement, courts, and politics. He also served as Gov. Tim Kaine's press secretary and most recently was director of communications at the Virginia State Bar.