U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Letters From Ben


History. Unprecedented. Remarkable. Unthinkable. Whatever you want to call it, Thursday, May 30, 2024 marked a sad day in nearly 250 years of American history as a former president was convicted on felony criminal charges.

No one is above the law. Not Donald Trump. Not any president or former president of the United States of America.

No presidential candidate, president or former president in this country has ever acted the way Donald Trump has. His prosecution broke new ground because it had to.

Charged under New York State law, Donald Trump was put on trial for his alleged crimes of manipulating business records to benefit his campaign and deceive the electorate. For two weeks, an impartial jury of citizens listened to both the prosecution and the defense participating in our time-honored adversarial legal process in the courtroom before an independent judge. The jury delivered a verdict in this criminal case by applying the facts to the law.

The conviction alone was sad for this country. The reaction to the verdict also was greatly troubling. I understand that partisans want to support their candidate, but the knee-jerk rush to tear down our judicial system and negate due process and the rule of law was jarring, if not shocking.

Government officials take an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Every elected official should remember that this sacred oath is not to pledge our fealty to one person or one political party, but to pledge our allegiance to the United States of America and the rule of law.

It is inappropriate and dangerous for elected officials to attack our judicial system as a whole because they disagree with the outcome of Donald Trump’s criminal trial. We saw this type of language from Donald Trump before the trial even began, but the willingness of others to join in such an exercise is harmful to our democracy.

America is not a perfect nation, but trust in our institutions, including the courts, is an important component of what makes our society function. Debasing and degrading key components of our republic from the inside out does not move this nation forward.

I understand that it may be too late for many, but I would urge my colleagues and others to think carefully of the consequences before they jump. Think of our nation. Think of the American people. Consider the words of our first president, George Washington, who said, “No punishment, in my opinion, is too great for the man who can build his greatness upon his country’s ruin.”

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts on this or any other issue. I value all of the feedback we receive.

In solidarity,

Ben Cardin