CHARLOTTE — On Town Meeting Day residents passed a resolution saying President Donald Trump is in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
The resolution calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to investigate “whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump,” and town officials just sent a copy to Democratic Congressman Peter Welch.
In a statement Welch said, “I was pleased to see Vermonters in Charlotte and across the state engage at town meetings about the threat of the Trump presidency to our democracy. These are difficult times and citizen engagement and action on the local, state and national level is essential.”
“My approach is to fiercely fight President Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and the curtailment of any civil liberties while demanding transparency and accountability. I am vigorously opposing his policies that will intensify income inequality, deny climate change, and shred the social safety net while proposing constructive alternatives that address the many challenges we face,” he added.
Impeachment is not a quick process and at this moment it’s not a practical one, Welch said. It requires a majority in the House, which is dominated by Republicans, and a two-thirds majority in the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim majority.
The Foreign Emoluments Clause states that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them (the United States), shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
The Charlotte resolution argues that, through his international business empire, Trump is violating that clause. During his first news conference as president-elect, Trump outlined steps he would take to distance himself from his business interests.
The resolution also claims Trump is in violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause, which states that aside from the president’s salary, “they shall not receive within that Period any other Emoluments from the United States, or any of them.”
Here again, Charlotte says Trump is violating the Constitution as a result of his domestic business holdings. The president has retained his ownership interest in the Trump Organization, but outsourced day-to-day operations to his adult sons.
Charlotte’s resolution is not the first time a liberal-leaning Vermont town has attempted to take on a Republican president via symbolic action on Town Meeting Day.
In 2008, Marlboro and Brattleboro voted to issue citizen arrest warrants for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on the grounds they committed war crimes during the Iraq War.