*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
It is generally expected, and should damn well be demanded, that before a winning candidate for any political office is officially sworn in that they demonstrate a better than rudimentary comprehension of the U.S. Constitution. They do, in fact, swear to a deity to uphold and support the document that informs how the government functions. It is unclear, still, if Donald Trump has ever even perused the nation’s founding, and sustaining, document because he exhibits the traits of a failing seventh grade student who never opened a book or completed daily homework when it comes to how government works according to the dictates of the U.S. Constitution..
What is particularly troubling is that despite Trump surrounding himself with trusted advisors who do understand the Constitution, the man in the Oval Office has shown blatant animus for the document he swore an oath on two bibles to uphold. In fact, over three short weeks in office Trump has demonstrated that he does comprehend how the government is supposed to work according to the Constitution, but like everything unrelated to praising Donald Trump, he rejects it as “disgraceful.”
Although Trump hasn’t yet said the Constitution is disgraceful, he has spent no small amount of time claiming the governing processes, like separation of powers and checks and balances, ensconced in the Constitution are “disgraceful” because they prevent him from “ruling” unopposed. First he assailed the U.S. Intelligence community as “disgraceful” for essentially doing their sworn duty to protect the Constitution and national security, and then he lashed out at the entire judicial process as “disgraceful” because of a legal challenge to a religious executive order. It is true Trump called the recent appellate court ruling “disgraceful,” and as unbelievable as that act is, it fairly pales to a sitting president actually calling the constitutional judicial process “disgraceful.” It is tantamount to calling the Constitution disgraceful for daring to do what Trump claims is intolerable; daring to review decisions and the judgement of a president.
One of the perpetual assertions of the administration is that Donald Trump is above the law and particularly above the oversight of the federal judiciary. During the appellate court hearing, the appeals court judges were taken aback by the insistence of the administration that the federal judiciary was powerless to render a ruling or make a judgment about Trump’s actions. That is, after all, Trump contention and it clearly informs he sincerely believes he is above the law of the land that for nearly two-and-a-half centuries mandated that the final arbiter of the law is the judicial branch, not Donald Trump.
To show that Trump’s opposition to the Constitution’s 239-year old procedure for governance is just getting started, on Thursday his press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the man who claims to be the president “has no regrets” about his shameful rhetoric targeting the Federal Judiciary as a disgrace; even after his nominee for the High Court said Trump’s criticisms were “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” Spicer also affirmed that Trump will continue to denounce the federal judiciary as he pleases. Trump just doesn’t consent that there was a process put in place by the Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers that was meant to apply to all presidents. Questioning or debating a ruling is one thing and no doubt every president has done so, but there is a monumental difference between questioning the wisdom of a ruling and calling the entire judicial process “disgraceful” even as the case is being heard.
What Trump is really calling “disgraceful” is the checks and balances, and separation of powers, in the Constitution because he accepts neither as germane to him. Trump is well aware, like every American should be, that the “last, best hope” of precluding Trump from violating the U.S. Constitution at will and illegally grabbing power is a functioning federal judiciary. It is why Trump is doing everything to undermine it by calling it disgraceful, political, and biased, and claiming its decisions are ridiculous.
Here is a little free counsel for the Trump: the Constitution granting the judiciary branch complete authority to review and rule on a president’s or Congress’ actions is not disgraceful; it is constitutional. It has served to protect this country, as designed by the Founding Fathers, from a tyrannical dictator seizing uncontested authority; precisely why Trump calls it disgraceful. In fact, the federal judiciary is no more disgraceful than the American intelligence community’s compliance with its mandate to protect the Constitution and national security even if it means investigating a sitting president’s cozy relationship with a hostile foreign power.
Look, Donald Trump is good for entertainment value and it is incredibly satisfying to mock him mercilessly; his existence demands it. But there is nothing entertaining, or funny, about the head of the Executive branch of government attacking the Constitution’s process for running the government as disgraceful. What is disgraceful is the silence of Republicans in Congress who refuse to harshly condemn Trump’s deliberate attempt to undermine the federal judiciary by calling it disgraceful. It has served to protect the nation from a fascist tyrant seizing power for 239 years precisely as the Founding Fathers intended and that is the only reason Trump says it, and by extension, the Constitution is disgraceful. An act that should be grounds for House Republicans to draw up articles of impeachment if they didn’t hate the Constitution nearly as zealously as Trump does.
**The above commentary is the opinion of R Muse**.
Image: NRO (from NationalReview.com)
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.