Bill Neinast


There are 16 pages without a single sentence that tell two stories.  Those pages contain only the names, status and offices of the 196 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against President Trump.

Each plaintiff is a Democrat member of Congress. They are alleging that the President is in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

The first story told by those 16 pages is one of hate.  It is just another chapter in the climate of hate engulfing our political culture today.  Hate that leads to the attempted assassination of Republican congressmen practicing for a charity baseball game with their Democrat colleagues.

The second story requires more elaboration.  It is a story of the lack of knowledge or understanding of the nation’s Constitution and its history by some members of Congress.

First you have to understand the history, meaning, and intent of the so called emoluments clause.    

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution says:

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”

The congressional plaintiffs are hung up on the word “emolument.”  The modern equivalent of that antique phrase is salary.  Other equivalents are pay, payment, wage, earnings, allowance, stipend, honorarium, reward, premium, fee, charge, consideration, income, profit, gain, or return.

Obviously, emolument means a reward of some type for services rendered.  The clause was designed to prevent a recurrence of the situation prevailing in the British colonies before the Revolution. 

Prior to the creation of the United States of America, each of the 13 colonies was under the rule of a “governor” appointed by and paid by the King of England.  In some cases the governor never set foot in the colony that he governed.  The administration was by subordinates, also paid by the King. 

So the emoluments clause was drafted to insure that no paid lackey of a foreign sovereign would hold office in the federal government without the approval of Congress.

Now these brilliant (?) congressional plaintiffs are alleging that the room rates collected from foreign officials who book accommodations in the Trump Hotel in Washington are emoluments for the President.  How ridiculous can one get?

As there are indications that they are going to try to gain access to the President’s income tax returns through discovery in the legal proceedings; the assumption is that any purchase of a commodity from any of the many Trump businesses would also be a prohibited emolument.

If they get even a hint of such activity through those proceedings, are they going to look into the businesses of both of the Presidents Bush?  Was some Bush oil sold to Japan or some other sovereign nation during either of their tenures?  If so, will they bring similar suits to try to strip the Presidents Bush of their title and pensions?

With the hatred and rancor now on front row all over the country, do not discount it.

If the room rents at the Trump Hotel are emoluments for the President, are the snacks and drinks consumed by a congressman at a reception in a foreign embassy also emoluments?  Who is going to sue those errant congressmen?

So here’s the perspective.

As noted repeatedly, the election is over.  Donald Trump won fair and square.  He will be there for three plus years.  Get over it and get back to sensible law making.


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