The text of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence lists abuses by King George that led the 13 colonies to sever relations with the motherland. Compare the actions of King George to the abuses committed by Donald Trump. The similarities are striking:
Interspersed with the italicized text of the Declaration below, let’s take a look at those similarities. They are not necessarily precise and 1776 English is challenging, but fascinating.
Jefferson: The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world:
The King has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
Trump has consistently ignored and violated the spirit of laws of the land and the Constitution and resorted to lies and falsehoods to support his policies. He has promoted bans against Muslims, and a ban affecting transgender people serving in the military. At other times Trump has been accused of constitutional violations, including his controversial travel ban affecting travelers from five majority-Muslim countries. The ban was said to have violated the Constitution’s “most basic guarantee of religious freedom,” the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled in declaring the ban unconstitutional.
The King has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
Trump has vetoed important legislation and agreements, castigated, threatened and insulted political opponents, staff and longtime allies. His refusal to even consider the severity of global warming and act upon it could eventually cause irreparable damage. He has formulated relations with dictators from Saudi Arabia, Russia and Egypt despite the opposition of White House staff, Congress and the American people.
The King has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
Trump has threatened Cabinet ministers and staff, fired those that opposed him, failed to fill required positions, demanded loyalty oaths, and avoided discourse with the other branches of government.
The King has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
Trump has resisted transparency in public hearings as required, lied consistently regarding executive process and offered false facts to support his intentions. He has declared the media an enemy of the people, fired a secretary of state who would not support outlandish positions, and forced out of the White House highly decorated military leaders and corporate leaders who refused to support his petulance.
The King has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
Trump has refused to hand over documents in violation of judicial precedent. He has nominated unqualified people for Cabinet positions, and selected for cabinet positions people who had been lobbyists for the department and publicly rejected the goal of the departments they promised to faithfully observe. Trump has refused to release his taxes in violation of 1924 legislation permitting Congress to review a president’s tax returns for six years and has vowed to ignore subpoenas from Congress.
The King has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
Trump appears determined to refuse entry to anyone into the United States from countries, races and ethnic origins he abhors. He has threatened to close the Southern border, which would require congressional approval, and confiscate privately owned land along that border. President Trump announced his plans to sign a flawed compromise bill in order to prevent a government shutdown, and when the plan failed, declared a national emergency.
The president’s intent to circumvent the will of Congress — and the will of the majority of Americans — was an abuse of executive power that will surely be challenged in the courts. For the president to claim potentially limitless power to utilize the military to build a border wall raises significant concerns regarding the abuse of basic human rights of border communities — and racial and religious minorities.
We have rid ourselves of one king. It is perhaps time to repeat the process.
Jack Topchik is a retired editor whose passions include Shakespeare, the Frederick Keys and films in which people talk in complete sentences. He writes from Frederick. Email him at email@example.com.