If Democrats and resistance Republicans think they are going to depose President Trump or thwart his presidency by endlessly savaging him in the name of protecting the republic, they don’t have any concept of the fierce resolve of his supporters.
The latest salvo in the resistance’s efforts to nullify the will of the American electorate is an anonymous New York Times op-ed purportedly penned by a “senior official” in the Trump administration. This pretend super-patriot declares that Trump faces “a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader. … The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. I would know. I am one of them.”
Well, congratulations. But this sounds far more like a damning admission of an unelected, self-important saboteur than a persuasive indictment of the duly elected president. And FYI, Trump does fully grasp it. What do you think he’s been shouting about for two years running?
The anonymous author assures us that he and his fellow guardians of the Constitution want the president to succeed. They even agree with much of his agenda. But, the author says, “the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.” These selfless servants “have vowed to do what [they] can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”
Just how does President Trump represent such a dire threat to our democratic institutions — an inflammatory but unsupported talking point of the resistance?
Here’s the bill of particulars: “In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the ‘enemy of the people,’ President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.” And what policy successes Trump has achieved “have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”
It’s obvious that Democrats and the Trump-obsessed and -hating media believe that by alleging frequently enough that Trump is combative toward the liberal media and a threat to our democratic institutions, they have made a compelling case.
The problem is that they never adduce any evidence. Trump didn’t start the war with the liberal media. They have been relentlessly brutalizing him from the beginning. But even if Trump threw the first volley in this war of words, it is still simply that — a war of words — not a dire threat to the republic.
The liberal media are always unfair to Republicans, except those who act like Democrats, but they emit an especially toxic venom toward this president. I, for one, am delighted that Trump fights back, that he does not sit idly and passively take their abuse like many of his GOP predecessors. The liberal media’s outrageously biased and dishonest coverage doesn’t just offend Trump; it bothers many of us and is contrary to America’s best interests.
But Trump has no power to shut down the media or limit their power on his own initiative and has not tried to. So enough hyperventilating that his harsh criticism of their despicable antics somehow threatens the Constitution.
Together, the conspiratorially united Trump attackers from the fifth column have just as much rhetorical power as the president, with his bully pulpit. They are just not used to Republican officials counterpunching. They mistakenly believe they are sacrosanct and above criticism. But no one in his right mind would argue that the press itself, while historically occupying a watchdog position, should be above scrutiny themselves.
How about the author’s charge that the president’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic? Impulses? What does that mean? That is sheer obfuscation. Impulses are not a threat to the Constitution or the republic.
There is no question that President Trump has implemented aggressive policy changes in trade, but he couldn’t have been more transparent about his intention to do so during the campaign, and he was elected on that basis. I consider myself a free trade advocate, too, but I don’t see Trump’s ultimate aim as protectionism as much as I see it as an effort to secure more favorable trade deals for the United States. Whether he has been or will be successful with that and whether it is wise policy are legitimate subjects for debate, but for Mr. Anonymous and his fellow coup-fantasists to contend that this somehow represents a threat to our democracy is egregiously absurd. It’s more than just hyperbolic; it’s flat-out wrong and inflammatorily dishonest.
It is also dishonest to imply that Trump’s alleged anti-democratic impulses threaten the republic. He is not the one who has acted outside his constitutional authority, but I can cite you a dozen cases in which President Obama did. So don’t act as if this president is a unique threat to our institutions. What he is a threat to is their notion of the ideal Republican — one who will “reach across the aisle” and, in the name of civility and bipartisanship, surrender on major policy decisions.
Particularly objectionable is the writer’s claim that Trump’s policy successes have come despite the president’s leadership style.
This is exactly wrong, and it’s precisely why the whining author and his henchmen have no credibility and his cowardly missive will produce the opposite effect from what he intends.
One reason even former Trump skeptics have come to appreciate him is that they believe his successes most likely would not have come without his grit and determination to fight against a conglomeration of leftist politicians and institutions determined to thwart his agenda. Many in Trump’s place would have long since rolled over and capitulated, and the country would be back on its way to Obama-style destruction, which is the type of threat that truly concerns those who believe in America as founded.
The author’s concern over Trump’s alleged preference for autocrats and dictators and his underappreciation of our allies is another deceptive sound bite suggesting that Trump would betray America’s interests because he is enamored of the world’s bad-boy power players and that he is gratuitously offending our allies. But this criticism doesn’t square with Trump’s policies, many of which are anything but favorable to Russia’s strategic interests. And his criticism of Canada’s Justin Trudeau came after Trudeau took a cheap shot at him on his way out of the nation. Why should Trudeau have gotten a pass for slamming Trump and his effort to secure fairer trade deals? The recent president infamous for betraying our allies (Israel, sometimes Britain) and coddling our enemies (Iran) was President Obama. Game, set, match.
I find it appalling that Mr. Anonymous boasts of undermining this president and galling that he actually shows himself to be the very type of threat to the republic he claims President Trump is. But we owe him our gratitude for vindicating our suspicions of a deeply entrenched resistance to this constitutionally elected chief executive.
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David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is “Jesus Is Risen: Paul and the Early Church.” Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.