It was a rather pointed statement aimed at Donald Trump when Democrats named their bill the Mar-a-Lago Act, or Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness.
The bill, introduced by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Carper (D-DE) and Jack Reed (D-RI), requires the release of visitor logs to the public wherever Trump holds court, though it is named after Trump’s self-styled “Winter White House.” A House version of the bill is being introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL).
MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin’s response says it all:
Bill. Of. The. Year.
Senate Dems introduce the MAR-A-LAGO Act: Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness. pic.twitter.com/aoLlz7mxgr
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 25, 2017
The Obama administration made visitor logs public. As Sheldon Whitehouse said, “if [Trump] won’t adopt that policy himself, Congress should require it.” He addded in a tweet,
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) March 24, 2017
Tom Carper said in a tweet that “The business of the President of the United States is the business of the people of the United States.”
Senator Reed issued a statement saying,
“Access to the President, in any setting, presents a serious array of national security issues. There should be transparent process for Americans to find out, when appropriate, who has access to the President.”
Donald Trump’s administration, you have to admit, has a good reason to not follow in this practice, what with Russians sneaking in back doors at odd hours.
And yes, that was at Trump Tower, you say. Worry not: The Mar-a-Lago Act also covers Trump Tower and the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.
Tom Udall said in a statement,
“It’s simple: the American people have a right to know who has access to the president and who has leverage over this administration.”
And who might be taking photos of the nuclear football, you know, besides folks who’ll post their photos online in contrast to sending them to…oh, maybe the Kremlin.
Udall added that,
“By refusing to release the White House visitor logs, President Trump is only validating the rampant concerns about who may be pulling the levers in his administration.
“The President should end his administration’s disturbing pattern of stonewalling information and immediately reinstate the previous administration’s policy of publishing White House visitor logs.”
Because the Obama visitor logs became available 3-4 months after the fact, Democrats say they expect to see the first Trump logs on April 20.
Admittedly, getting the bill passed will be tough because it’s going to need Republican support. If the GOP was serious about their calls for transparency under Obama, they would support it. But the reality is that all too many Republicans still have hands dirtied in the Trump swamp.
Nevertheless, it was a step that needed to be taken. The point had to be made because as John Wonderlich, Executive director of the Sunlight Foundation put it in a statement,
“As long as President Trump continues to conduct public business in his private business, the same standards of disclosure should apply to Mar-a-Lago as the White House.“
Democrats are keeping the pressure up on Donald Trump. The Mar-a-Lago act is a necessary step in holding this reckless president to account.
While many Republicans are willing to permit or even commit treason to get their agenda passed, no one will be able to say the same of the Democrats, who, as Rep. John Lewis said, fought to their last breath for freedom.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.