‘Get him out’: Former UK professor calls for Trump’s impeachment


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord, N.C., on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. (Diedra Laird/Charlotte Observer/TNS)

Bailey Vandiver

“He’s just the worst possible person to be the most powerful person in the country,” claimed former UK professor John D. Stempel after calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment in a Lexington Herald-Leader opinions piece.

Stempel has a long, impressive career in foreign relations to back up the conclusion of his piece that Trump must “resign or see (himself) destroyed.”

Before he arrived at UK in 1988, Stempel had a 25-year career in the foreign service. He had overseas assignments in many countries, including Iran during its revolution. His time in Tehran gave him the knowledge to write “Inside the Iranian Revolution,” a book first published in 1981. He has since written a second book, “Common Sense and Foreign Policy.”

At UK, he was a senior professor in the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. He served as associate director of the school for five years and director for ten. He said that eventually the Patterson School was “one of the best programs in the country.”

He retired from UK in 2013, ending his second 25-year career.

Trump’s Mistakes

“Where to start?” Stempel said of what Trump’s number one offense might be.

He said that Trump’s refusal to release his income taxes got us into “this Russian business.”

“The two best American-Russian experts I know say that he’s dirty to the core,” Stempel said. “They’re absolutely convinced that Robert Mueller will have enough evidence to put him away to jail for years.”

The key is for someone to “have guts enough” to find and use the evidence. Stempel said he believes Mueller, who is the special prosecutor investigating any connections between Trump and Russia, has the guts.

A second major offense, Stempel said, is Trump’s “blatant disregard of the American political system.”

He said Trump wants to run the government like a “tin-pot dictator,” which is a Victorian-era phrase that refers to a ruler with little political credibility and delusions of grandeur.

“I think what you’re going to see at the end of this saga, whether it comes in a month or three months or whatever, is going to be one of the most disastrous episodes in American government that we’ve ever seen,” Stempel said.

“This is way worse than Watergate,” he wrote in the column. “Our national soul is at stake.”

Family Business

In 1928, a young woman was on a reporting team at the “Indianapolis Times” that exposed the Ku Klux Klan’s involvement in state politics. The reporting ultimately led to the conviction of Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson, who was caught murdering and raping a woman.

The young female reporter and her three male teammates investigated, sometimes with state police protection. Other times they weren’t so protected, and she would carry a shotgun in the car when they traveled.

That young woman became Stempel’s mother.

“I heard this story 40 years later from one of her colleagues, and they called her Shotgun Mary,” Stempel said.

Stempel said this part of his family history may explain why he feels so strongly about the Ku Klux Klan’s role in the recent political turmoil.

“When your mother has been involved in fighting the Klan as a young woman herself, under difficult circumstances, it’s hard for me to put up with any crap from people who are so un-American and just ugly,” Stempel said.

Stempel’s opinions piece in the Herald-Leader came just days after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Trump’s “belated condemnation” of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Stempel wrote that he could not believe more Republican congressmen had not made comments condemning the white supremacists.

“Nor can I believe that the party of Abraham Lincoln is not willing to call Trump on inciting and inflaming violence and prejudice,” Stempel wrote.

Students’ Vested Interest

College students barely old enough to vote may find themselves uninterested or uninvolved in politics. But Stempel said this is not right.

“If you’re of college age, male or female, and particularly male, if you’re not interested in what’s going on, you’re damn well going to end up in the military later on if you don’t,” Stempel said.

There could be more than just foreign affairs implications, Stempel said. Trump’s removal from office, however it comes, could “destroy the fabric of government,” which includes student loans, for example.

Stempel said that concerned students can push for Trump to leave office, or even for him to be convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans should have a vested interest in getting him and his cronies out of office,” Stempel said.

“This is not happy politics.”