lincoln peoria speech 1854That is the standard I would ask Republicans to use when they decide how to interpret the actions of Donald Trump. What if Obama had done it?

We know that Republicans have a gross double standard. When Obama played golf, Republicans couldn’t stop arguing that he was wasting taxpayer dollars. When Trump plays golf – three times as much and at his own golf courses, charging exorbitant rates to the secret service while there – Republicans argue that it isn’t important. There are hundreds of cases where Obama would be chastised while there is nary a whine from Republicans when Trump breaks the law.

Yes, the world sees it. Seriously, it’s that obvious.

So here we are during impeachment proceedings. Remember that the Republican party impeached President Bill Clinton for lying about having a consensual affair. Remember also that many of the Republicans trying Clinton for lying about the affair were simultaneously themselves lying about having affairs. Like Donald Trump, Speaker Newt Gingrich was having one of a series of affairs. Other Republicans were doing the same; one was later found guilty for molesting young boys. Flash forward to now and Republicans bend over backwards to make excuses for Trump’s multiple well-known affairs and attack the more than 20 women who came forward with accusations of sexual molestation.

As I write this, one of Trump’s hand-picked ambassadors (hand-picked after giving Trump a million dollar donation) is admitting under oath that Trump repeatedly violated the Constitution. A long list of witnesses have testified that Trump did this. This is on top of the hundreds of examples of Trump violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, blatantly lying in nearly every breath, and viciously and dishonestly attacking dozens – hundreds – of people who have caught Trump in corruption.

What if Obama had done that?

It’s time for Republicans to decide if they represent the United States or if they represent corruption. The facts are clear. The choice is clear.

Many Republicans are afraid that they will be “primaried from the right,” that is, forced into a primary by someone even more extreme right wing than themselves. Given where the party stands now, that seems unlikely. Add in the high probability that Trump will be impeached by Christmas and there seems little political downside for Republicans who stand up for honesty and integrity and their oaths of office. [And yes, your commitment to the Constitution is supposed to be stronger than your commitment to a party]

Six years before he was elected president, Abraham Lincoln was faced with his then-Whig party being afraid to stand up for what was right for fear that they might be branded as abolitionists. Lincoln reminded them that standing up for what is right doesn’t mean you have to change your politics. He noted:

Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong.

Republicans have a chance to stand up for the United States against a corrupt and criminal administration. The Republican party stood up to Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign when Republicans refused to cover up his crimes. Today the Republican party has a chance to stand up to Donald Trump.

Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong.

It’s time for Republicans to stand for the United States. No one is asking Republicans to become Democrats. All we, the people of the United States, are asking is that Republicans stand up for the integrity of our country.

This really isn’t a tough decision. It’s time.

*Quote is from Lincoln’s Peoria Speech, October 16, 1854

David J. Kent is a science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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