In the United States, the sitting President becomes the de facto leader of their party. As such, when Donald Trump was sworn into office in January 2017, he became the head of the Republican Party.
The first ballot I ever cast for President was for a Republican — Richard Nixon. Despite the outcome of his presidency, I am not ashamed of that vote.
Despite the fact that several crimes were committed to get him elected, despite what now appears to have been a massive paranoia, Nixon had many impressive achievements as president. He established the Environmental Protection Agency. He expanded civil rights. He had numerous foreign policy achievements. He declared war on cancer, illegal drugs, and hunger. The war in Vietnam was finally and painfully brought to an end. We went to the moon.
Other than the entire “Watergate Affair,” Nixon had a successful presidency.
In the end, he acknowledged his mistakes and paid the price for his actions by being the only president forced to resign from office. Nixon left in disgrace. With impeachment looming, he left voluntarily.
During his years in the Oval Office, Richard Nixon never rallied a mob to march on the U.S. Capitol. He never incited violence against other elected officials. Nixon made many mistakes. He was a flawed individual, but I am still not ashamed that I voted for him.
What Nixon did pales in comparison to what our current president did last Wednesday.
I looked back at one of the columns I wrote in April 2016. As usual, I had been closely following the primary campaigns. I was impressed with a few candidates, but not Trump. He had been caught telling numerous lies.
In a silly, immature manner he made fun of other candidates. He mocked the physical disabilities of a reporter. He showed little or no class. He was recorded saying some horribly demeaning things about women.
I was surprised he won the nomination. He reminded me more of an outrageous talk-show host than a presidential candidate.
Many of the people who stormed the capitol last week kept yelling, “We have a right to be here. This is the people’s house. This is our house. You can’t keep us out.”
That is absolute nonsense.
I was elected Clinton County Commissioner in 2004 and served in the county courthouse for the next seven years. After that, I won the mayoral election and assumed that office in the city building.
If any group of people had ever stormed the Clinton County Courthouse, the sheriff’s office would have stopped them – forcefully if necessary. If anyone ever tried to storm the Mayor’s Office, the city police would have immediately taken action to stop them. They would then be arrested, tried and prosecuted.
Government buildings are where the people’s work is done. These building were paid for with funds from the people, but no one has a right to invade and occupy a government building. Never. Not ever.
Even as he egged on the rioters, sending them to the capitol building, Trump was still lying about the election results.
People are still demanding an audit of the election. They have obviously never volunteered with their local board of elections.
Every step of our electoral process is audited by members of both parties. All votes are tabulated and double-checked by members of both parties. As soon as the local board of elections validates the results of our local election, those results are forwarded to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. Again the results are checked and verified.
Because of Trump’s insistence of voter fraud, the 2020 election results have been frequently scrutinized and double-checked. No massive irregularities have been found. Only a few ballots could even be challenged.
Trump’s legal objections to the results have been struck down repeatedly in federal courts and in state courts. Over 80 judges across America have rejected Trump’s lawsuits because they offered no evidence that anything wrong or illegal had happened.
Regardless of the legal opinions of judges and experts, Trump still refuses to accept the 2020 election results because the results told him that he lost. He hates to lose, but he did. Get over it. It’s time to move on.
In the past, I’ve been called a RINO (Republican In Name Only). If that means that I do not march in lock-step with everything the Republican Party leadership says … then I accept that title and will proudly wear the name.
I will always believe that country comes before party. In all circumstances, always … country comes first.
I am still a Republican. I believe in limited government. I believe the best government and the strongest form of government should be that which is closest to the people.
I believe we should help all people succeed, but their success is ultimately up to them. I believe taxes should be as low as possible to provide vital services to the people. Nothing has happened to change those beliefs.
The government will always be part of our lives, but we must be careful not to allow government to dominate our lives. We are ultimately responsible for ourselves. We can look to the government for help in emergencies, but our responsibility is to care for ourselves, our families, our neighbors and others.
We also need to care for our government. Whether we always agree with them or not, we need to protect our elected officials from harm.
We have survived many things together: war, depression, Watergate, political rancor and the uncertainty of the future.
Together, we will survive the horrible events of last Wednesday.
Regardless of political affiliation, let us work together to keep America united and strong.
Randy Riley is a former Mayor of Wilmington and former Clinton County Commissioner.