Just because you serve in public office, doesn’t mean you believe in everything America stands for. Certain politicians are notoriously accused of being unpatriotic for things they’ve said and done. Unfortunately for the public, a politician’s lack of patriotism is usually only discovered after they’ve committed an egregious crime that questions their respect for the American constitution. Alternatively, just because you’ve been accused of being unpatriotic doesn’t mean it’s true.
Michele Bachmann Slandering the President
Michele Bachmann is often described as one of the most unpatriotic politicians our country has ever seen, and some say she hides under the veil of someone attempting to out those who are unpatriotic. And it’s true, slandering your president is not only a major act of disrespect, but it could point to how much you value the ideal of democracy America was founded on.
The Minnesota U.S. representative demanded that members of Congress be investigated for being “anti-American.” She also frequently tweeted articles about conspiracy theories regarding both Obama’s and Trump’s administration. She alleged that the people were paid to protest Donald Trump (a wildly inaccurate, baseless claim that undermines the actual protests) and urged for American’s to deport immigrants (the very people who founded this country).
William Jefferson’s Corruption
One of the most patriotic things a politician can do is stand by the law with complete honesty and integrity. Accepting bribes completely undermines the American constitution and the way law should work. Louisiana’s former congressman William Jefferson is arguably one of the most unpatriotic, based on his blatant disregard for the law. Jefferson had no problem accepting bribes and was convicted on 11 accounts of corruption and bribery. The FBI found $90,000 hidden in his freezer, with little explanation. Surprisingly, he wasn’t ever convicted for the $90k, but he was found guilty of bribery and conspiracy.
Tom DeLay Laundering Money, Ignoring Campaign Laws
Running a fair, honest campaign is one of the hallmarks of a true political patriot. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for Tom DeLay, the former House Majority Leader. He was indicted for money laundering and found to have ties to the Abramoff scandal.
Grand Juries believed that DeLay skirted Texas campaign finance laws to get specific legislators voted into office. This is an egregious, unpatriotic act and was seen as a major scandal. In 2010, he was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Texas appeals court threw out DeLay’s conviction, but he was still cemented in the American public’s mind as an unpatriotic cheat.
Sean Spicer Disrespecting Prisoners of War
Arizona senator John McCain was recently accused of being unpatriotic by press secretary Sean Spicer after he suggested to reporters that President Trump’s recent raid in Yemen was a massive failure. The raid ended in tragedy when a Navy SEAL and dozens of civilians – including children – were killed. Despite the claims, the whole debacle really could show that Sean Spicer to be the one who is unpatriotic.
Spicer, giving a lecture on patriotism to McCain, who is a prisoner of war, blatantly disrespects the sheer bravery of military personnel who risk their lives to keep our country safe. McCain endured years of torture as a prisoner of war and cannot raise his arms above his head as a result.
Joe Wilson Heckling Obama During a Speech
Disrespecting your president is one of the most unpatriotic things you can possibly do. This didn’t stop the Republican South Carolina representative Joe Wilson from heckling President Obama during a speech.
On September 14, 2009, President Obama was giving a speech before both houses of Congress. Wilson yelled out “You lie!” during the President’s speech. Not only is this insanely unprofessional and rude, but it’s also extremely unpatriotic. The house granted him a formal rebuke for the incident. Wilson later apologized on national television (because what was he really going to do after doing such a shameful, childish thing?).
Donald Trump and Travel Bans
It’s hard to count all the ways in which people have criticized Donald Trump for being unpatriotic. While America’s Tweet-happy POTUS may have touted the idea of “Making America Great Again,” the truth is, so many of his actions go against the ideas America was founded on (and in some cases, its very constitution).
Trump’s recent executive order – widely known as a “Muslim Ban” – goes against the foundation in which America was built and was ruled to be directly violating the constitution because of its blatant religious discrimination. In addition to racial and religious discrimination, the order attempted to violate the series of checks and balances that our government uses to function.
Donald Trump and Fake News
Trying to enact a so-called “Muslim ban” (Trump widely vowed to ban Muslims from America before he was even elected into office), isn’t the only way that the president has proven to be unpatriotic.
Trump has clearly spoken out against the first amendment which prohibits anyone from infringing on the freedom of the press. The current POTUS has long been touting the idea of “Fake News” – the idea that highly respected news organizations like CNN and The New York Times are completely false — and urging people not to read them. While this doesn’t directly infringe upon the first amendment (because he has a right to complain all he wants about news he doesn’t like), it’s a very concerning thought for someone who is supposed to lead our country.
Michael Flynn Conspiring With Russia
Michael Flynn, the ex-national security adviser for the Trump administration, was recently under some intense scrutiny for acts that many would consider absolutely unpatriotic. He was accused of discussing sanctions with the Russian government during a private phone call.
Sure, America doesn’t want to be on bad terms with a massive world power like Russia, but many would argue that they don’t want to be best friends either. Many citizens consider the idea of talking behind the American government’s back to Russia as a major no-no. Not to mention all the rumors that Russia conspired with the Trump administration to get him elected into office.
Mike Pence Praising Dictatorship
Mike Pence has some wildly outdated ideas – like how electroshock therapy can “cure” gayness. It definitely caused the cast of Hamilton to speak out against him, but his misguided political views also caused a member of the senate to lash out regarding Pence’s view of democracy.
Senator Tim Kaine declared Mike Pence as “unpatriotic” because of how much he praised Russian President Vladimir Putin. “[If] you want to go around praising a dictator, you need to be called out as unpatriotic,” he said. Pence also stated that he thought Vladimir Putin was a stronger leader than Barack Obama. If that’s not a red flag, we’re not sure what is.
George Bush Borrowing Money from China
George Bush added trillions of dollars of debt to the American economy, which some could argue is more unpatriotic than that time he saluted military officials with a big, furry dog in his hand. President Obama (to much backlash) called Bush unpatriotic because of his “irresponsible” handling of national debt.
“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents,” he said. “Number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome so that we now have over $9 trillion in debt that we are going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman, and child. That’s irresponsible… It’s unpatriotic!”
Barack Obama and His Improper Salute
It’s shocking to hear that Barack Obama – who notoriously supported both women’s and LGBTQ rights – would ever be called unpatriotic, but he was in what some conservatives call “Salute-gate.” It all happened when a White House Instagram video showed President Obama saluting a U.S. Marine with a coffee cup in his hand – oh, the humanity!
Conservatives labeled this as an unpatriotic disgrace; unfortunately many of them didn’t even know the protocol to a military salute. In fact, it’s technically not proper protocol for a civilian president to salute any military personnel in uniform. According to The Daily Caller, the Marine Corps manual even says that you shouldn’t salute when you’re carrying articles with both hands that make the salute impractical. Besides, the gesture was meant merely to respect those that serve our country.
Mark Sanford Spending Tax Money on Vacation
Taxpayer money is supposed to be used to benefit the American people, so it’s pretty darn unpatriotic to take it for your own benefit. Mark Sanford, the Republican governor of South Carolina, was caught using taxpayer money to fund trips to South America to see his mistress.
Sanford was caught because his interactions with his mistress were done on the government’s email service, which is well archived. He’s since tried to make good by reimbursing taxpayer money for the expenses he racked up during a visit to Argentina, but that didn’t stop both parties from rallying to have him impeached.
Rod R. Blagojevich Auctioning off Senate Seats
The former governor of Illinois showed some blatant disrespect for democracy – one of the most unpatriotic things you can do. Blagojevich was arrested on federal corruption charges when he tried to “auction off” Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. He was charged with a number of wildly unpatriotic and corrupt offenses including bribery, attempted conspiracy, wiretapping, and mail fraud.
The former governor was impeached in 2009 by the Illinois House of Representatives, but he still maintains his innocence. Blagojevich wrote a book and had his lawyers lobby to appear on a reality TV show in an attempt fix his tarnished image.
Richard Nixon and Watergate
Perhaps one of the largest political scandals of all time is one of the most unpatriotic: Watergate. Richard Nixon was the first president to resign from office in August of 1974 – but for good reason. He undermined the democracy America was founded on by engaging in questionable activities to ensure his re-election in 1972.
Nixon’s conspiracy was outed by two reporters – Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein – and the administration engaged in a massive, shameful cover-up. Those expecting our government to run on honesty, democracy, and transparency were shocked that a president could commit such deceptive acts and undermine classic American values.
Ronald Reagan Violating American Policy
During his second term, Ronal Reagan found himself embroiled in a scandal that violated American policy and law. We’re not sure what exactly could be more unpatriotic than blatantly disregarding the policies our country was founded on.
Reagan helped Iran sell weapons and then used that money to support the Nicaraguan Contras, a rebel group attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government. They ended up negotiating with hostage-takers and paying a ransom which directly violates American policy and law. Congress has passed legislation directly barring the U.S. from helping the Contras; however, the White House blatantly ignored it. Reagan took accountability for the scandal.
Mitch McConnell’s Blatant Disrespect for Democracy
Rallying against your president is one of the most unpatriotic things someone can do – especially if you’re not rallying against the president’s specific beliefs, but rather, doing whatever you can to get him kicked out of office. This was a vow made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said it was his top political priority to get President Obama out of the White House.
Shamefully, the Senate Republican Leader admitted it to the public on national TV. “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term,” he said.
Barbara Boxer Disrespecting the Military
In 2010, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer did one of the most unpatriotic things a senator can do – she disrespected the military. In an unfortunate statement, Boxer equated serving in the military, being a fireman, and being a policeman (all professions that put you in danger to serve and protect the American public) to being a Congresswoman (someone who sits in a chair all day).
Veterans for Carly Coalition Co-Chairman, Lt. Commander Paul Chabot, slammed her in the press for her insensitive statements. Equating the experiences of members of Congress with those of brave soldiers who have fought to defend our country is just the latest example in a failed career marked by disrespect for our men and women in uniform,” he said.
Chuck Hagel’s Unspecified Views of the Military
Former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel was accused of being unpatriotic by Senator Dan Coats for his views on the military (despite the fact that he’s a veteran). Coats never elaborated on exactly what Hagel said about the military, aside from the fact that he opposed the Iraq War, but that didn’t stop him from running his mouth about how Hagel was a poor choice for Secretary of Defense.
“I don’t know how you can nominate someone and make them Secretary of Defense who has had so much disrespect for the military,” Coats said. “And said so many public things in opposition to the military, what it stands for, the values that it holds. Chuck has alienated an awful lot of people.”
Hillary Clinton and Foreign Money
Hillary Clinton was slammed for the use of a private email server when she served as Secretary of State, but what may be seen as egregiously unpatriotic is the fact that her charity, the Clinton Foundation, accepted millions of dollars of foreign money.
The Federal Election Campaign Act says that those running for office cannot accept foreign contributions, and it should be noted that Clinton never broke this law because she didn’t work with the foundation while she was Secretary of State. Still, Saudi Arabia gave between $10 and $25 million to her organization in December of 2008, leading many to question how patriotic the presidential nominee really is.
Jack Abramoff and Buying Washington
Bribery is insanely frowned upon and disrespectful to our democratic government that strives to be fair and just. Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist, is known as “The Man Who Bought Washington” because of his penchant of bribing just about everyone in Washington.
His political corruption involved millions of dollars, fancy trips, free meals and members of Congress. Eventually, The Washington Post discovered how corrupt he really was, which lead to an inquiry from the Justice Department. Abramoff and the then-chair of the House Administration Committee were sent to jail. Abramoff later wrote a book about his scandal.