Image Credit: AP/Evan Vucci
Article 2 Section 1 of the United States Constitution dictates that a president “shall take the following oath or affirmation: ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States.'”
Every president since George Washington has recited this oath. Every vice president who had to stand as Acting President has recited this oath. To take this oath is to swear that the Constitution shall be the guide to your governance.
Why the quotations around “clearly unconstitutional?” Because that is what President Trump said about the sanctions. The president acknowledged that he is signing an unconstitutional act into law. This is an offense that many, including myself, would consider to be impeachable.
That oath is a legally binding agreement to preserve the constitution to the best of their ability. By explicitly acknowledging the unconstitutionality of the law he just signed, the president has refused to “faithfully execute” the duties of the presidency, which includes the duty to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States” to the best of the president’s ability.
Had the president publicly fought this bill. Or even vetoed it, knowing his veto would be overturned, the president would not have violated the oath of office, but he did. By not opposing this bill, which was unconstitutional in the mind of the president, the president clearly violated his oath of office.
I am not calling for the impeachment of the president. I am merely stating the facts.
Another example of violating the oath of office would include signing a constitutional act into law, e.g. one that would ban the federal government from reading your mail without a warrant (I know it’s redundant due to the 4th Amendment, but still), just to include in your signing statement that you have no intention of enforcing that law. But no one has done that, right? Right?