The Frederick News-Post reported our lawmakers’ reactions to Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump. In that article, Delegate Kathy Afzali was mentioned as saying: “Democrats’ questions about Trump’s business dealings are the result of their own lack of experience in owning and operating businesses. ‘We look at private-sector work as a positive,’ she said of fellow Republican party members.”
Democrats’ questions about how beholden our president is to a hostile foreign power are a “result of their own lack of experience in owning and operating businesses”? Really? Is Delegate Afzali making up “alternative facts”?
I am a registered Democrat. I owned and operated a successful IT business in Frederick County for eight years. I am now an ordained Episcopal priest in charge of a small nonprofit known as Grace Episcopal Church in Brunswick. Is Delegate Afzali saying my concerns about Donald Trump’s financial interests in a foreign nation hostile to the United States is because I “lack experience in owning and operating businesses”? If Delegate Afzali really said this, it is personally offensive to me as well as many other Democrats who are business owners. It is condescending to her Democratic constituents. Delegate Afzali seems to have forgotten that Democrats are still her constituents and she answers to them as much as her Republican ones. She was elected to represent ALL of us, not just some of us.
I can assure Delegate Afzali the concerns about Donald Trump’s financial ties to Russia are not because Democrats lack business experience. Does Warren Buffett, a longtime Democrat and owner of Berkshire Hathaway, lack business experience? Or Oprah Winfrey? Or Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook)? Or Lloyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman Sachs)? Or designer Kenneth Cole? Or Jeffrey Brotman (co-founder of Costco)? Clearly this statement of hers is not grounded in any verifiable facts, but merely her partisan opinions.
Democrats who are raising questions about President Trump’s ties to Russia are doing so out of concern over the potential conflicts of interest. If this president is financially beholden to hostile foreign powers, these ties have the potential to compromise our nation’s foreign policy decisions. It is a national security risk. This isn’t sour grapes about who won the election, nor is it because Democrats “lack experience in owning and operating businesses.” It is because there are patriotic Americans of both parties who see the potential for our country’s interests to be compromised by a hostile foreign government and we believe this president has a duty to disclose those interests.
I believe Delegate Afzali owes her constituents an apology for this thoughtless and condescending statement. As an elected representative, she is in a position to be part of the solution to our country’s bitter divisions. Instead, making foolish statements like this merely contributes to the partisanship tearing our country apart. This isn’t what she was elected to do, and all of her constituents deserve better.