What will we tell the children?
In 1999, Republicans in Congress were outraged over presidential mendacity:
- Former Representative, now Senator, Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina):
“The president of the United States sets [sic] atop of the legal pyramid. If there’s reasonable doubt about his ability to faithfully execute the laws of the land, our future would be better off if that individual is removed. And let me tell you where it all comes down to me. If you can go back and explain to your children and your constituents how you can be truthful and misleading at the same time, good luck.”
- Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Pennsylvania), current chairman of the House Judiciary Committee:
“[The] rule of law should apply to everyone, no matter what excuses are made by the president’s defenders… We have done so because of our devotion to the rule of law and our fear that if the president does not suffer the legal and constitutional consequences of his actions, the impact of allowing the president to stand above the law will be felt for generations to come –laws not enforced are open invitations for more serious and more criminal behavior.”
- Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois), who was then chairman of the House Judiciary Committee:
“There is a visibility factor in the president’s public acts, and those which betray a trust or reveal contempt for the law are hard to sweep under the rug…They reverberate, they ricochet all over the land and provide the worst possible example for our young people.”