Norfleet R. Johnston ’56, in a letter to PAW (Inbox, March 18), expresses his disappointment in the faculty members who signed a letter supporting President Trump’s impeachment, and encourages them to “read our Constitution and other info about the authority of U.S. presidents.” Presumably, of course, they’ve already done so, but I wonder if Mr. Johnston would include in said “info” Alexander Hamilton’s clear warnings in The Federalist Papers about the abuse of presidential power and foreign involvement in our “councils.” There is no doubt that this chief executive threatened to cut off military aid to an ally in order to pry from them a condemnation of his probable (and now certain) opponent in the next election. Such a move is well outside the ethical bounds of his authority.
Mr. Johnston also reminds us that President Trump was “acquitted by the U.S. Senate,” and offers this as proof of the impeachment effort’s illegitimacy. But those who watched that trial were witness to a disheartening display of cynical loyalty from legislators who feared the effect of a presidential Twitter feed on their election prospects and refused to hear testimony that would have supported the gross misuse of executive power. I’ll take the good judgment and integrity of 18 Princeton professors over the calculations of these morally compromised “leaders” any day.