Did you hear why Peyton Manning chose not to be color commentator for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”?
Because it wouldn’t be right.
He declined, reports Yahoo Sports, because his commentary would be compromised should his brother Eli be on the field. So, too, Peyton would feel torn in commenting on his former teams in Denver and Indianapolis.
Few realizations could be sadder: A retired quarterback has a higher sense of honor regarding a broadcast stint than a man who stood on the Capitol steps swearing he’d do right by the law, then strode into the White House and did what he pleased.
As of now, the man electorally assigned to execute our laws stands to be the only man in America who believes he can ignore them.
On Jan. 20, 2017, he swore he would preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. It was his first official lie.
Other countries have any number of dignitaries who do that with impunity – military dictators and their generals, cartel bosses and their corporals, mullahs, sheikhs.
Here, we have Donald Trump, the one and only.
The law applies to his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, in prison for illegal deeds. It appears not to apply to the man for whom those deeds were done. The law applies to buds and influence brokers Trump hired and Robert Mueller has indicted. Apparently, though, it doesn’t apply to Mr. Big.
Shortly we’ll hear more from Mueller when Congress gets to ask him about what we all know to be true: Regardless of whether or not you are a Trump fan, you know he obstructed justice. He did it over and over, and in full sight. Trump fans: You rooted him on as he obstructed.
He fired the man heading a probe pointed straight at him. He threatened witnesses. He pressured people in the know to not say what they knew. He lied and lied and lied again about Russian contacts as a candidate and in Russian business entanglements.
But that offense is not our subject today. Today we discuss the impunity with which Trump has violated that founding document — or more pertinently, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8.
It’s known as the Emoluments Clause, and it says the most powerful man in our government will not place himself in the position of being compromised by foreign gifts.
Trump refused to divest or blind-trust himself when he became president. Since then his brand has raked in foreign government dollars hand over fist.
As just one example: In one six-month stretch starting in October of 2016, the government of Saudi Arabia spent $270,000 at Trump International Hotel.
What might the Saudis have expected in return? Indeed, what did they get?
Such conflicts are why House Democrats have subpoenaed Trump’s financial records. Americans need to know to what extent foreign governments have played our White House like a slot machine.
The other day Trump pronounced the emoluments matter just another witch hunt when a federal appeals court threw out a suit by attorneys general in Maryland and the District of Columbia on the matter.
As Trump says almost every day (every other sentence?), “Total exoneration.”
Nope. The dismissal wasn’t on the merits of the matter but the court’s ruling that the two states didn’t have standing to sue.
Another emoluments suit, this filed by more than 200 members of Congress, is still alive, and so is the legal bid to acquire his financial documents.
Trump is the most corrupt, and corrupted, American president – period.
Even his biggest fans know this. As he said, he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and he wouldn’t lose them.
So, go for the gold, Golden Boy. Get what you can while the gettin’s good. Drop-kick those ethical questions right down the field. That’s what winners do.
That Peyton Manning. Integrity is for chumps.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.