Among the innumerable problems that Donald Trump conjures up on a daily (hourly) basis are his tunnel-blind outbursts that assert bizarre and dangerous authorities. The “Chosen One“ actually seems to believe that he is an omnipotent despot whose decrees cannot be challenged by the riffraff over which he holds divine supremacy.
Now Trump is asserting that “When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total.” That’s a view that should scare the bejesus out of every American, regardless of political affiliation. It’s an assumption of power that is reserved for the sort of tyrants that Trump frequently shows admiration (Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un). And it is unequivocally undemocratic and un-American. Unfortunately, It is also an unambiguously Trumpian view that he is unashamed of:
“I’m going to put it very simply: the president of the United States has the authority to do what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful. The president of the United States calls the shots,”
What Trump seems to have forgotten is that the powers he seeks to lavish on himself would create a precedent for future presidents. If Trump were to succeed in asserting totally authority, then Joe Biden would have it as well. Is that something that Republicans would support? Would Fox News accept a Biden presidency that exercised the same authoritarian power that Trump is advocating? For the time being we’d have to assume that they would, because everyone from Lindsey Graham to Sean Hannity have applauded Trump’s ascension to dictator. None of them have said anything to renounce it. Well, except for this guy:
Trump’s foreboding declaration of dictatorial aspirations was uttered during another of the Coronavirus Task Force briefings that he has hijacked to replace his cult rallies and transformed into de facto campaign events for his 2020 reelection. During Monday’s briefing Trump spent the better part of an hour defending himself from accurate media reports of his negligence and incompetence, when he was supposed to be providing the nation with vital information and updates. He even ran a blatantly political campaign ad that was illegally produced by White House staff and comprised of Fox News propaganda.
Trump’s embrace of total authority was referring specifically to his baseless claim that he has the decision making power with regard to when to “reopen” the country for business. He refused to say where he got that preposterous idea, but constitutional scholars agree that he’s wrong. The 10th Amendment states that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Trump also said that the governors would do what he told them to do because they need things from the federal government. So he is overtly threatening them with withholding vital goods if they don’t obey his commands. That’s Trump invoking the same kind of mob-style extortion that he used on the president of Ukraine, which resulted in his impeachment. In fact, Trump has already started putting that pressure on state governors, beginning with Andrew Cuomo of New York:
That tweet packs a lot of bull. It seeks to shift the blame for Trump’s failures to the states. It implies that the states must show gratitude to Trump for doing what any other president would regard as a federal – and humanitarian – duty. And it threatens the constitutionally protected independence of the states. What’s more, it demonstrates the severity of Trump’s malignant narcissism with allusions to people “begging” for his grace. He has a long history of imagining people begging him. And following that, Trump posted a tweet wherein he chillingly compared himself to the brutal, maniacal, Captain Bligh from Mutiny on the Bounty:
Tell the Democrat Governors that “Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
Trump’s identification with Bligh perfectly illustrates his own callousness, delusions of grandeur, and desperate need for unflinching loyalty. The fact that he thinks a mutiny against him would be “exciting and invigorating” reveals the sadistic nature of his derangement. And once again, he implies that he can control people through the disbursement of necessary supplies. That’s the perspective of a perverse and cruel overlord, not a president of a free republic. And it’s all the more reason that Trump needs to be replaced by Joe Biden, someone who understands the Constitution and its principles.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.