The corruption and cruelty manifested throughout Donald Trump’s presidency substantially damaged public trust in government. While recognizing the importance of calls for unity and moving forward as a country, holding individuals and institutions accountable for the abuses they carried out over the past four years is essential to restoring faith in U.S. democracy and preventing further degradation of foundational norms and values.1 Without accountability, including through legal action when needed, government actors will be seen as being above the law, a notion that has dangerous consequences for the stability of the country. Simply because someone is—or works at the behest of—a politician does not give that individual carte blanche to act in a manner contrary to American law and basic human rights. True unity and healing can best be achieved by ensuring that victims find justice and that all efforts are taken to prevent future evil acts.

The general public and business sectors have a role to play as well, as individuals responsible for the harms stemming from family separation should not be allowed to serve on prestigious boards or enjoy lucrative employment opportunities. One organization, Accountable.US, has launched a campaign called Hate for Hire to urge companies not to hire senior officials behind the policy as well as track the companies that do hire these officials.46 In response to these types of efforts, some argue that companies who decline to hire former Trump officials may run afoul of state and local laws that prohibit companies from making hiring decisions based on political affiliation.