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Column: Presidents Cannot Hide Behind Ignorance

The Trickle Down

The Trickle Down is Salute Magazine’s  weekly column by Political Writer Amanda Godula.  The Trickle Down is a weekly look into what’s need-to-know, fresh takes on trends, and the inevitable controversies from the political arena.  Let’s dig in and see what’s happening this week: Ignorance Is No Excuse in a Presidency.

The former FBI Director James Comey testified about his interactions with President Donald Trump.  If his testimony is correct, Trump may have legal troubles in his future – beginning with obstruction of justice.  But that’s okay, America.  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has an excuse for it all.  Ignorance.

“The President’s new at this.  He’s new to government.  And so, he probably wasn’t steeped in the long running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI, and White Houses,” Ryan said of Trump.

You heard it correctly – Trump does not understand being president, per Paul Ryan.

But, here’s the thing: how is ignorance acceptable?

We’ve seen Trump make excuses for not knowing truths previously.

Like when he claimed he had the biggest electoral college win since former President Ronald Reagan, but received pushback.

Imagine feeding lines of amateurism to anyone else:  Tell your boss you didn’t know coming into work two hours late wasn’t acceptable.  Tell a police office that you didn’t know you couldn’t speed because you’re a new driver.  Tell the IRS you didn’t know you had to pay taxes.  THIS WOULD NEVER FLY IN THE REAL WORLD WITH NORMAL PEOPLE.

Consider the case of Rose Maria Ortega.  Ortega is a U.S. permanent citizen and was brought to the U.S. as a baby.  With only a sixth grade education, Ortega believed she was legally able to vote; so she did.  She was convicted on two felony counts and will likely be deported after she serves her sentence.

The presidency is the highest and most powerful position in America.  Ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law and poor decision making.

Being president does not excuse illegal behavior because of power.  Reminder, Richard Nixon:

Nixon’s behavior lead to resignation and an eventual pardon.

It’s near impossible to say all presidents or government officials are all-knowing.  History shows us how politicians are fallible.

Former President George W. Bush couldn’t open a door.

Former Vice President Dan Quayle didn’t know how to spell potato.

Presidents don’t need to know everything, but they need to know how to do their jobs.  Knowing what obstruction of justice is, whether you’ve committed it, and what proper, long running protocols are.  That IS the job.  Ignorance should not be excused, Paul Ryan.

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