We have been witness to Donald Trump’s hostility toward anyone who is at all critical of him, even if it is only to the extent of asking him questions, or accurately quoting him. This has morphed into something more with reports that the live feed cables from MSNBC and CNN were tampered with during a Trump event.
More ominously, Donald Trump wants to be able to take legal action against those he thinks are unkind in their reporting. Friday in Texas, Trump revealed his utter disdain for the First Amendment’s freedom of the press, proclaiming that he’s “gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.”
He complained to the crowd, as he sold them his own pack of lies, “I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible.”
That’s some claim coming from one of the 21st century’s foremost liars. The solution to people reporting unwelcome facts about him, Trump says, is to tear up the First Amendment and start suing the media silly. This claim earned him thunderous applause. Nobody hates critics of Donald Trump more than Donald Trump than his cultists.
Watch the relevant portion of Trump’s speech courtesy of People for the American Way:
(You can watch the full speech here, via Right Side Broadcasting.)
Let’s look at his argument. As a reminder, the First Amendment reads, in its entirety:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Yet here is what Trump claimed:
“One of the things I’m gonna do, and this is only gonna make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m gonna do if I win… is I’m gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws.
“With me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people…We’re gonna open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re gonna have people sue you like you never get sued before.”
“I’m not like other people.” Actually, the United States Constitution says you are exactly like other people, because under the Constitution, we are all equal before the law. There is no Donald Trump Exception clause anywhere to be found. Even the Founding Fathers had to take their lumps from their critics.
Let’s not forget that this is the same Donald Trump who said in January, “I feel very strongly about our constitution. I’m proud of it. I love it.”
He loves it enough to say it doesn’t apply to him.
But we get where he is coming from – the political milieu of fascism. Fascist dictators – even wannabe fascist dictators – cannot abide criticism.
What is both interesting and terrifying is that Trump thinks as president he will have the power to simply negate parts of the United States Constitution he doesn’t like, as though the presidency bestows those powers. It does not. The Constitution is notoriously difficult to amend, and the process is not accomplished by one man’s stroke of the pen.
In fact, in his lack of knowledge of how government works, he ranks right up there with such luminaries as Sarah Palin.
The truth is, Trump has no clue how the U.S. government works, which is why he wants a political insider as VP. He needs somebody to serve as his cheat sheet, a sort of living Dummy’s Guide.
Well, he has a lot of dummies to choose from. These guys can’t even figure out how the legislative branch works, let alone guiding the president through the intricacies of the executive.
This is America under Trump. A land where Trump trumps all, because he’s “not like other people.” He is so special that the very foundations of American democracy must give way before him.
And this is the guy who complains Obama’s executive orders are in violation of the Constitution. I think we’ve taken both the measure of the man and of his followers through his words and their applause.