Rep. Lee Zeldin, with House Freedom Caucus members Jim Jordan, left, Matt Gaetz and Mark Meadows, speaking to reporters about impeachment inquiry last month. Screenshot from C-Span video/Facebook

Mr. Zeldin:

Your recent actions and statements, or conspicuous lack thereof, are certainly causing considerable numbers of constituents to question: Whose interests are you representing in Congress?

You proudly promote the interests of the NRA, and the assault weapons manufacturers they represent. You represent them with great consistency, mass shooting after mass shooting, slaughter after slaughter, child after bullet-ridden child. You represent the gun lobby’s interests, even after confirmation of donations and influence by unregistered foreign agents, and the agendas of deeply intertwined Russian oligarchs seeking political leverage are revealed. You seem to represent foreign interests over domestic ones.

You represent, condone and support “alternative facts” and brazen lies to the American people.  Lies made each and every day, hour after hour, tweet after tweet. You represent all those who believe utilizing their positions, to promote themselves or others politically, in violation of the Hatch Act. You represent those who admire dictators and strongmen. You represent those who believe utilizing the office of the presidency to enrich themselves is acceptable, in clear violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. 

You represent an imperial Presidency, the root of so many of our founder’s fears. You represent those who erode the separation of powers, or the founders firm assertion for the necessity of three co-equal branches of government. You represent those who diminish the powers of Congress and elevate the powers of the presidency. You represent those who believe the press are the, “enemy of the people.” You represent all those who refuse to admonish such statements, made by this President or his officials. You represent the Trump agenda on countless TV appearances while repeating the mantra of “fake news.” You represent a direct threat to the “Fourth Estate” and freedom of the press

You represent those who support shockingly uninformed executive positions, regarding longstanding nonpartisan foreign relations efforts, that intentionally interfere with the efficacy of career State Department officials both at home and abroad. You represent those who would question the patriotism of diplomats and career foreign service officials. You represent an erosion of America’s global influence, through agendas, serving to diminish NATO and other key alliances. You represent and fully embrace the self-described, “nationalist agenda” of the current administration. You represent supporters of “white nationalists” in the administration. You represent all those who believe, “Jews who do not support Israel are disloyal,” through your conspicuous and complicit silence. 

You represent those who hold a complete disregard, and a disdain for the consensus of our own intelligence services and that of our strategic global partners. You support and encourage those trafficking in conspiracy theories,designed to represent solely the personal interests of the President, rather than our national interests. You represent those, who you would have falsely believe that Republicans were not present and engaged, in each and every deposition in congressional investigations. You represent those who falsely claim the House majority is not following the rules of conduct as codified in procedural rules in investigatory proceedings.

You represent the party who is responsible for authoring the vast majority of said rules. You represent a President engaged in witness intimidation, obstruction and contempt for Congress itself. You represent a failure to fully recognize and successfully address, both past and ongoing, Russian interference in our electoral process. 

You represent the interests of Russian military intelligence, by directly inserting their talking points into our internal domestic political discourse. You represent a president who may be the target of a “Kompromat” campaign, and his unending deference to Russian policies.  You represent the interests of a President that trained KGB officers, including Russian despot Vladimir Putin, likely refer to by the former Soviet moniker of “useful idiot.” One may only wonder, by which name an unquestioning servant of such an individual, would be referred to by our Russian adversaries. You represent, most assuredly, the very embodiment of any such Russian moniker.

You represent those who would utilize our nation’s military resources as a tool for bribery, extorting a new and growing democracy at war, in exchange for personal political gain. You represent as an Army reserve officer, unlike the draft-dodging “Commander in Chief” you fawn over, all men and women who serve alongside our allies. You represent a President who abandons our allies, allows adversaries to seize their territory, and “knows more than the generals” because he watches “the shows.” You represent all who believe “tweets are official administration policy statements,” of a “very stable genius.” You represent all who would disregard Pentagon officials and pardon “war criminals,” who have been accused and/or found guilty of heinous, horrendous crimes, by our own military tribunals. You represent the interests of one individual, and absurdly defend the indefensible. You represent those who would do away with the rule of law.

You represent all who have thrown the “Grand Old Party” aside, either out of fear or ignorance, in exchange for a reckless and grossly uninformed President, giving up any semblance of traditional Republican norms and values. You represent those motivated by fear and the promise of protection, from this President’s unrelenting personal attacks, unleashed upon any who dare defy him. Your allegiance to the party of Trump represents a danger to the security and very sovereignty of our nation itself. 

You represent the cult of personality surrounding Trump. You represent an ever-shrinking number of constituents that will tolerate such behaviors by a President of any party. You represent inexplicable loyalties and alliances, that shall certainly not be considered kindly by history, nor shall your full defiance of the defining principles of the Republican party be looked upon fondly or nostalgically. 

You certainly do represent many things indeed, Mr. Zeldin. Unfortunately, the majority of your constituency is clearly no longer one of them. Your constituents demand a quid pro quo: Our votes in exchange for representing our interests!

Ian Lyons lives in Riverhead.


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