“I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

President Donald Trump

Until recently, President Trump has ignored the Constitution, particularly as it establishes three co-equal branches of our government.  I assumed this was the result of his never having read or understood it or because he assumes his base is generally ignorant about American history and our founding documents they won’t question his often inaccurate statements.

However, his recent claim that as president he has the absolute right to do whatever he wants is truly frightening; an assertion even eighth-grade civics students reject.   

Even his supporters should be wary of anyone who increasingly talks like a third-world autocrat. 

Article II establishes the powers of the Executive Branch in the same way Articles I and III layout those for the Congress and Judiciary.  Among those granted to Congress is the right to oversee the presidency.  Article II specifically grants an American president certain enumerated, but limited powers as the nation’s chief executive, but not those of a king with unlimited and unchecked authority.

That he seems to believe this fiction should be a wake-up call to Republicans and Democrats in Congress to immediately reclaim too many of its powers that have been delegated (an interesting Constitutional question as to whether one branch can delegate its enumerated powers to another branch) to the Executive branch.

On a related note, both in his official report and during his testimony before Congress, Special Counsel Mueller noted President Trump had likely committed acts to obstruct justice which, if he were not the president, would leave a person open to indictment but, “it also does not exonerate him."  In response to a direct question, Mueller twice opined Trump was exposed to prosecution after he leaves office. 

When subsequently questioned  a reporter, Trump twice said that Muller never indicate he could be indicted after his presidency; untrue as anyone who listened to Mueller testimony knows … and then claimed Muller retracted those statements (which Trump claimed he’d never made) and offensively accused the reporter and her network of Fake News; again another Trump-invented falsehood.

Apparently the only reason Donald Trump was not indicted was the Justice Department’s long-standing policy preventing federal prosecutors from charging the president with a crime.  However, contrary to Trump’s statements, there is no language in the Constitution immunizing a president from being indicted or prosecuted for a crime while in office.

In America, NO PERSON, president of otherwise, should be above the law.

While Trump’s base unquestioningly revels in his anti-establishment and anti-immigrant rants, Republican politicians, knowing  how he treats former friends and members of his team who disagree with him, shudder at the thought of the president campaigning against them.

Given enough time and power, autocrats are ultimately loyal to no one but themselves.

Reverend Martin Niemoeller‘s anecdote on what can happen when people sacrifice patriotism, courage and, in America, allegiance to the Constitution at the altar of personal ambition and blind party loyalty is worth pondering. 

First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Social Democrats, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Social Democrat.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

      Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

        Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

          Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.