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I Protest!

The Trump campaign is running this ad on Facebook:

The image on the right is labeled “Chaos & Violence”, meant to invoke the protests against police brutality that have been going on around the US.

As I like to say, there’s just one problem. That photo is not from the US. It is a photo from a pro-democracy protest in Kyiv, Ukraine, taken in 2014. You can see the original (larger) image here, and the photographer has confirmed that it is his photo. So I guess the real message is that Trump is opposed to pro-democracy demonstrations (especially ones that succeed in ousting a tyrant and restoring democracy).

But wait, there’s more! The person who is in charge of sending federal agents to Portland, OR and other US cities is the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf. What’s hypocritical here is that Wolf is only the acting head of DHS. He was never confirmed by the Senate, and wasn’t even nominated by Trump. As explained in the Washington Post:

Trump has made use of acting Cabinet officials in ways with no apparent precedent. As I wrote back in February, by that point he had had acting officials in Cabinet-level jobs for more than 2,700 combined days across 22 jobs — about 1 out of every 9 total days. That compared to about 1 out of every 29 for President Barack Obama. (“I like ‘acting’ because I can move so quickly,” he told CBS’s “Face The Nation” last year, adding, “It gives me more flexibility.”)

This is problematic for several reasons: first, US law says that acting officials can only serve for 210 days. Wolf has served 255 days, which means that legally he cannot be in charge of the DHS. And second, this makes Wolf completely beholden to Trump, because unlike confirmed cabinet posts, Trump can dismiss an acting head at any time, for any reason. And third, the DHS has a legal order of succession, which was violated when Trump elevated Wolf to be the head.

So Trump is saying he is fighting lawlessness, when he is the person who is directly violating the law.

Oh, and incidentally, Facebook has refused to take that ad down, even though it is misleading. And the Trump campaign is still running it.

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One Comment

  1. notycoon22 wrote:

    A couple of niggling points. The President can ask any appointed official, whether confirmed or not, to step down at any time and for any reason. The law is very broad on that point for appointees. By exceeding the 210 days after appointment, he loses the ability to carry out non-delegable duties.

    Now, I don’t know if the following Executive Order is still in effect, but the next to last paragraph allowed Obama to ignore the succession list and appoint whomever he wanted. Dear Leader could have signed a similar EO for himself.

    https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/12/09/executive-order-amending-order-succession-department-homeland-security

    Monday, July 27, 2020 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

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