The absolute corruption of the entire Trump administration makes one thing explicitly clear: Trump and everyone who enabled him or aided him during this last fours years should be held accountable and face serious consequences. But don’t just take that from me, even a conservative columnist is demanding it.

Numerous scandals, criminal activities, tens of thousands of lies, the deaths of 225,000 Americans, the alienation of our allies, the aiding and abetting of our enemies, the trampling of the rule of law and democracy itself makes the Trump administration the most corrupt in history. That not only necessitates accountability, it demands it lest we allow it to happen again. A mere slap on the wrist or letting bygones be bygones cannot stand.

This time, there should be consequences, not just for Trump, but for everyone associated with him.

In a column for the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin made the case for punishing all of them:

“They should think more about atoning for the betrayal of their country than trying to escape the consequences of enabling a liar, racist and wannabe authoritarian,” Rubin wrote, explaining that none of them should be hired after this nightmare is over. “There are practical reasons for employers outside the right-wing bubble to reject not only those who were the face of the administration but also those who labored behind the scenes.”

“Those seen as ethically obtuse and tolerant of racism pose a business risk,” she continued. “Clients and customers might not want to be associated with a firm that features someone who just months ago promoted their boss’ ludicrous lies or remained silent as he winked at QAnon conspiracy theories. Alumni of the Trump administration do not suffer from a political association but rather from their willingness to enable someone who betrayed his country’s highest ideals.”

Indeed, these people have proven that they will do anything to get ahead, whether it is illegal or unethical. They would do the same again, putting potential employers in jeopardy. This should even include many Fox News hosts such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson:

“There is, as I have argued, a moral imperative to hold people accountable for their actions,” Rubin explained. “Employees who obstructed justice, misrepresented facts to courts or lied to Congress must be held responsible under criminal statutes and professional rules of conduct. State bar authorities will need to step up to identify behavior, which, if allowed to go unpunished, would bring disrepute on the profession and set a bad example for others. If elected, former vice president Joe Biden will need to decide how to clean house, which might involve investigating and holding departed Trump officials responsible.”

So far, the Bar Association has avoided punishing Attorney General Bill Barr and several other Trump associates who have law degrees yet have abused it or ignored the law at every turn. It’s time for them to wake up and strip them of these honors. That alone would cripple their ability to get a job in the legal profession and would destroy their credibility or whatever is left of it.

“We as a country and as individuals need to decide whether those who are unremorseful, who seek no forgiveness and who admit no complicity in an administration that engaged in reprehensible conduct deserve to be welcomed back into ‘polite’ society,” Rubin wrote “You would think that before seeking cushy jobs, these Trump alumni might seek to make up for perpetuating racism and xenophobia, for their attacks on democratic institutions and norms, and for their efforts to sow division and undermine objective reality. They might consider community service. They might donate time or money to groups fighting racism, helping immigrants, defending press freedoms and teaching good citizenship.”

Of course, many of them would likely just be faking remorse anyway, so that should not be taken into consideration. As Rubin went on to conclude, nobody forced these people to do Trump’s bidding. They could have refused and spoken out against him at any time.

“No one forced anyone to work in this administration,” she wrote. “No one forced them to stay to the bitter end or to conceal wrongdoing or to attack critics. These actions have consequences.”

Officials like White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have done more than perhaps anyone else to enable Trump. Both have told just about as many lies as he has to the American people even when the facts are clear.

The buck usually stops at the president’s desk, but not this time. Everyone who served in this administration and spread Trump’s propaganda or defended him, from Vice President Mike Pence to Republican Senators and Cabinet members to minor Twitter trolls should be ruined for life and never allowed to return to public service and private employment of any kind even if they insist that they are sorry and have learned their lesson. They haven’t learned anything except to say whatever it takes to get away with their abominable behavior. We should not allow it. Only serious consequences can prevent another such episode in our nation’s history from happening again. If that means mass prosecutions, imprisonment, permanent unemployment, and ostracization, so be it. They only have themselves to blame. It’s time for the party of “personal responsibility” to be taught what those words mean the hard way.

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