US No Longer Needs A Physical Political Capital

(MENAFN- Asia Times) US presidential candidates are fond of talking about what they'll do“on day one” if elected.
Donald trump is no exception.

Yet they routinely omit to speak – and apparently forget to think – of how they might use the almost limitless discretion that a president enjoys about how he does the one thing that he must do on the first day of his administration, namely to take the oath of office.
In this, too, Trump is no exception.

President is free to choose where he's inaugurated, where he works

Neither the US constitution nor any federal statute requires a president to take his oath of office in the District of Columbia, much less at the western entrance to the Capitol building. No provision of the constitution or of any federal statute – including the statutory provisions codified at 36 US Code chapter 5, titled“Presidential inauguration ceremonies” – requires that there be either an inaugural address or an inaugural parade or an inaugural ball, much less that any such address or parade or ball take place in the District of Columbia. These are all mere traditions.

Past presidents repeatedly have taken the oath of office elsewhere than in Washington, DC. The first two US presidents, George Washington and John Adams, took the oath of office in New York or Philadelphia. On November 22, 1963, Vice President Lyndon Johnson took the presidential oath of office in an airplane taking him and former president Kennedy's widow and still-warm corpse from Dallas, Texas, to Washington, DC.

Vice-presidents who have become president due to the death in office of elected presidents have invariably dispensed with inaugural parades or balls; their inaugural ceremonies have been the funeral ceremonies of their predecessors.

Furthermore, nothing in the US constitution or federal statutes in force requires a president to operate out of the White House or anyplace else in the District of Columbia. An executive mansion is provided for his convenience, but he need use it only as much as he may wish to use it. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, afflicted with polio, died in office at Warm Springs, Georgia, enjoying the relief provided by that spa. He also built and used the first federally-funded presidential retreat, which was renamed Camp David by President Eisenhower.

Lyndon Johnson operated out of his Texas ranch as president so much of the time that it was called“the Texas White House.” Subsequent presidents have also spent much of their time in office at their private residences far from Washington, DC – Nixon in California, the younger Bush in Texas and, to an even greater extent, Joe Biden in Delaware.

Since the Covid scare US workers increasingly work entirely from home, part of an exodus from America's culturally diseased, misruled and crime-ridden cities; Biden merits praise for leading that exodus by example.

Why Trump, if elected, should neither be inaugurated nor work in Washington, DC

There are compelling reasons why Donald Trump, if elected to a second term as president this November, should neither take the oath of office in Washington nor operate out of Washington.

First, Trump's enemies repeatedly have demonstrated that they will attempt to convict him in federal court of any crime for which they can find a plausible excuse to prosecute him. It would be imprudent for Trump to assume that they will cease to be so inclined after or even during a second Trump term as president.

Alleged federal felonies are tried by jury in the geographical venues where they allegedly were committed. Alleged federal felonies allegedly committed in Washington, D.C., are tried in Washington, D.C.

However, the proportion of voters voting for Trump in the District of Columbia was far smaller than in any of the 50 states of the US in both of the most recent presidential elections. The DC figures were 4% in 2016 and 5% in 2020. Washington, DC, is more hostile to Trump than anyplace else in the United States.


Asia Times

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