In a complaint filed with the District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, a group of local clergy and former judges – of which we are members – alleges that Donald Trump lacks the good character required of all owners of licensed liquor establishments in the city. We made the complaint, which we have supplemented with additional evidence on multiple occasions, because we believe that among the hundreds of hotel, bar, and restaurant owners in the District of Columbia, Donald Trump is uniquely unfit. Good character, which the liquor laws require of all owners of establishments holding a liquor license, is, and should be, an easy requirement to meet. It merely requires the basic honesty and integrity to which all business owners can readily attest.
But as our complaint and its supplements have stressed, the one owner of a hotel holding a District of Columbia liquor license who lies with impunity, who has demonstrated his lack of integrity by defrauding individuals in his private business affairs and who has, according to his own lawyer, paid “hush money” to women with whom he allegedly had sexual relations in order to influence an election, is Donald Trump. And this is only a small sample of conduct inconsistent with good character set forth in our filings. As clergy devoted to helping others live moral lives and as former judges devoted to upholding the rule of law, we saw it as our duty to serve notice to the Board in this unusual and rare case that its most fundamental licensing requirement had been violated.
We recognize that the subject of our complaint is the president of the United States. Given our deep respect for the democratic process by which he was elected, we have assiduously avoided including in our complaint any of President Trump’s political or policy decisions with which we may disagree. Instead, because we are members of the clergy and former judges, we have focused on specific conduct by Trump that led us to the conclusion that he lacks a moral compass, which has conspicuously taken a backseat to his pursuit of pleasure and power. Indeed, we were struck by the fact that an anonymous senior member of President Trump’s own administration recently recognized that he was amoral. In our collective judgment, and as has been demonstrated in our filings with the Board, there can be no reasonable debate that Trump violates the basic good character requirement of the District of Columbia liquor licensing laws.
The District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has recommended a show cause hearing in circumstances where a liquor establishment owner engaged in misconduct less egregious than that of Trump. It now has the opportunity not only to uphold once again the good character requirement of the liquor laws, but also to demonstrate that no person, not even the president of the United States, is above the law. Good character is a requirement of the liquor licensing law. Unfortunately, our president lacks it. Thus, it is time for the Board to act.
This letter was signed by: Rev. Timothy Tee Boddie, Baptist Denominational Executive, Washington, D.C.; Rev. Jennifer Butler; Joan Goldfrank, Retired Magistrate Judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia; Henry H. Kennedy, Jr., retired U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia; Rev. William H. Lamar IV, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church; Rabbi Jack Moline; and Rabbi Aaron Potek.