Trump showed his true colors this week by publicly stating in an interview on Conservative radio host Peter Baker's radio show that he is "frustrated" that he cannot (as president), personally control the FBI and the Justice Department. Seems Mr. Trump thinks the president would be able to use the Justice Department for his own personal ends. "You know, the saddest thing is that because I'm the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department." "I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I'm frustrated by it." (See: www.nytimes.com/2017/11/03/us/politics/trump-says-justice-dept-and-fbi-must-do-what-is-right-and-investigate-democrats.html).
If it was up to Trump (and I imagine his cult), he'd be able to single handedly jail his critics and opponents because, well in some strange way, his supporters think this is a legitimate way to run a presidency - to have absolute power over anyone they do not agree with and by silencing them with prison or expulsion from the country is a proper remedy. Ironically, those adhering to this position believe they are exhibiting some sort of extreme patriotism without recognizing they themselves would be aligned instead with the Loyalists that opposed the American Revolution in favor of King George. It appears to be lost on Trump and his cult that the Framers specifically established a system of checks and balances with separation of powers to be particularly suspect of anyone elected to the presidency wishing to abuse the position for personal gain through the use of criminal intimidation. It specifically was an effort to safeguard against the type of tyranny a monarch would wield over a free people. And Trump and his cult regret not having this power? Some "patriots" huh?
Think I am mistaken? In Federalist #78, Alexander Hamilton sold the rationale of an independent judiciary as "The standard of good behavior for the continuance in office of the judicial magistracy, is certainly one of the most valuable of the modern improvements in the practice of government. In a monarchy it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a republic it is a no less excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body. And it is the best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws." (Emphasis added). So why do so many Trump cultists think it is a good idea for Trump to have an authority the Framers specifically protected us all against? Is it because they slept through their history and civics classes? Is it because they, although ignorant of the basis for the founding of our great nation, somehow believe they have a superior right to claim a higher order of "patriotism" over those they disagree with? No matter what the rational, Trump and those that support him are dead wrong - even if they refuse to admit it.
Before you think I am taking a too severe view of Trump's intentions when indicating his frustrations, think about all of the pre and post election rallies the man has led with chants of "lock her up!" Just this week, Trump tweeted a demand that "Crooked Hillary" be criminally investigated (again)! "Very discouraging to me....they are not going after Hillary Clinton." (See: www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/11/03/trump-pressures-justice-department-to-investigate-crooked-hillary/?utm_term=.62068613f878). Any wonder the Framers demanded the judiciary be independent? I know, some would argue that the judiciary is not the Justice Department or the FBI. But using these two institutions as your personal vendetta machines is still what the Framers wanted to curtail. And if it wasn't, it was made clear after Nixon's Watergate that the Executive not use the mechanisms of the Justice Department and FBI as extensions of their personal enforcement apparatus. (See: www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/magazine/how-donald-trump-misunderstood-the-fbi.html).
So as we enter into the second year since the election of Trump to the White House, we are finally beginning to see the man's popularity rating head south. According to the recent ABC/Washington Post Poll, Trumps approval rating has hit the lowest for any president after their first nine months in office. Seems just 37% approve of Trump as president while 65% think he has done nothing productive in office (except perhaps to harm the institution itself). Now some say (see below) that's pretty good considering Congress has an approval rating below 10%, but the GOP has been in control of the House and the Senate since 2012. Does this mean the Democrats will sweep back into office in 2018? Probably not, as the Democrats seem to take every opportunity to miss an opportunity. (See: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/poll-trumps-performance-lags-behind-even-tepid-public-expectations/2017/11/04/35d2a912-bf4d-11e7-959c-fe2b598d8c00_story.html?utm_term=.09ab3d885068. See also: www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-approval-rating-falls-to-lowest-level-since-taking-office-1509282048).
Any look at social media and Letters to the Editors reveal many still are in lock-step with Trump, no matter hell or high water. One letter printed in today's Sarasota Herald-Tribune says it all about the members of the Trump cult; "Why is it President Trump has an average popularity rating of 39% while Congress has an average popularity rating of 13 percent? One must conclude that the president is performing almost three times better then Congress!" They go on to write, "Yet we have a president who is living up to the promises he made to the people (when did that last happen?) and he is fought by the obstructionist Democrats and his own party." And there you have it. A total denial of the reality facing each and every American. Congress sucks, but that makes Trump somehow successful? What exactly has Trump done to fulfill the myriad of campaign promises the letter writer is referring to? And this is exactly what one can expect to be written by a member of the reality-denying cult that supports Trump.
As Benjamin Franklin once wrote; "Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn." Before opining, perhaps actually learning American History and Civics should be required? Have a great week!