July 25, 2017 • BLOG ENTRY

Honesty Trumps Loyalty

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the concept of loyalty. I’ve always prided myself on being loyal. I’m a loyal customer, loyal friend and loyal to the causes in which I believe. And there are perks to being loyal, right? Stores, airlines and restaurants that I frequent reward me with extras that a one-time customer may not enjoy. There is a little give and take with loyalty.

But should loyalty trump honesty?

This issue came to the forefront this week with the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

It has been alleged that the president demanded a loyalty pledge from Director Comey. According to the NY Times, colleagues of Mr. Comey reported that the FBI director promised Trump honesty, but not loyalty. One of the reasons this story has gained traction is that it is common knowledge that Trump, the businessman, often required loyalty pledges from his associates.


President Donald Trump shakes hands with James Comey on January 22, 2017 (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

So what is the difference here… and why does it matter?

It matters because the concept of loyalty brings with it an assumption of reliability. And loyalty in politics is often what gives politicians a bad name. We are seeing the worst of loyalty being played out in Congress these days. Republican members of Congress are putting party loyalty above country. They high fived, hopped on a party bus and drank beer to celebrate increasing insurance premiums, adding an age tax, and denying protection to those with pre-existing conditions.

Party loyalty does not stop with denying 24 million Americans access to health care. The Republicans in Congress refuse to demand that Trump release his taxes. They also claim that they can handle investigating this administration’s alleged ties to Russia while the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the Attorney General both have to recuse themselves. I’m pretty sure that loyalty benefits them, but I know that it hurts us as Americans.

I would rather see honesty in my elected officials. Members of Congress should honestly say that the ACA needs to be fixed and then work with each other to get that done. They should admit that this Russian issue is a minefield and call in an independent prosecutor who cannot be fired by Trump, nor intimidated by Jeff Sessions. And they must require that Trump release his taxes so that we, as Americans, can be ensured that this president is not turning the US into a kleptocracy.

Honesty takes much more courage than blind loyalty. Honesty cost Director Comey his job. Time will tell, but loyalty may just cost Republicans in Congress their jobs.