When Trump Promises to Be a Tyrant, Take Him at His Word

https://www.nationalreview.com/2022/12/when-trump-promises-to-be-a-tyrant-take-him-at-his-word/

When Trump Promises to Be a Tyrant, Take Him at His Word

By Charles C. W. Cooke

December 5, 2022

American patriots do not recommend the suspension of the United States Constitution.

Once again, Donald Trump has proposed dismantling the United States Constitution. “Do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION?” Trump asked on TruthSocial Saturday. “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.”

The answer to Trump’s question is “neither.” The response to his declaration is, “No, it does not.” The conclusion one must draw is that the 45th president of the United States has lost whatever was left of his mind.

That Trump probably cannot achieve his stated aims here remains spectacularly beside the point. During the closing days of the 2020 election, I wrote repeatedly about the seriousness of Joe Biden’s refusal to reject his party’s growing demand to “pack” — i.e. destroy — the United States Supreme Court. Not once did I receive an email from a Trump voter telling me that my alarm was misplaced on the grounds that, in all likelihood, Biden would not have the votes to do it. Back then — and rightly so — the mere fact that Biden was entertaining the idea was deemed instructive: “When people tell you what they want to do with power,” my correspondents invariably opined, “you should believe them. Joe Biden cannot be trusted with power.”

Well, so it is with Donald Trump once again. When Trump declared his 2024 candidacy last month, he implicitly asked us to judge him and his plans for the country, and, eventually, to compare those plans to those that are on offer from other hopefuls. And so we must — including when he talks about the election of 2020. I have never believed that it was a good idea simply to ignore Trump’s ramblings as if he were just some washed-up radio host. But now? After Saturday’s post? Now, that is simply not an option. If Donald Trump gets his way, he will be president of the United States again, and, quite obviously, we cannot have a president of the United States who has called for throwing out a certified election, who has demanded his installation as a dictator, or who has proposed the “termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” Ahead of time, Trump is informing us that he aspires to be a tyrant. Sic semper tyrannis.

The excuses that are being marshaled in Trump’s defense are, as ever, utterly pathetic. Trump said what he said, and he meant what he meant, and what he said and what he meant are flatly unacceptable coming from a man who was once the leader of a free country, and who aspires to be so again. No other figure would inspire the performative downplaying or studied bewilderment that Trump receives from his partisans. His meaning was clear, and — just as important — it was entirely consistent with his previous conduct. This is a guy who, in early 2021, attempted to stage a coup. Forget the riot on January 6 for a moment — in the grand scheme of things, that was a sideshow — and examine what Trump was trying to do while that riot occurred. Repeatedly, and without shame, the president of the United States made an attempt to rewrite the 1887 Electoral Count Act and the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution so that Mike Pence could be transformed into an election-dictator and declare that he, Donald Trump, rather than the winner, Joe Biden, had prevailed in the election.

Grumble if you must, but those are the plain facts of the case, and they have not changed. More than a year after the election, Trump put out a statement lamenting Pence’s refusal to acquiesce to his scheme. “Unfortunately,” Trump wrote, Pence “didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the election!” This is still Trump’s view — and, if anything, the scope of his ambition has broadened. In 2021, he was ranting about the Twelfth Amendment and the Electoral Count Act. Now, he’s set his sights on the “termination of all rules, regulations, and articles” in the country that might obstruct his will to power. This statement alone should mark his banishment from political contention. In conjunction with the others, it ought to represent a political suicide note.

Why has it not? Well, because Trump’s other lies — which are numerous and relentless — have given his apologists an entirely false sense of the context within which these outlandish appeals have arrived. In a vacuum, the notion of overturning the last election, or holding a do-over, or suspending the Constitution, would seem bizarre. And yet, since the night of the 2020 presidential election, that vacuum has been so rigorously filled with falsities that a sizable part of Trump’s audience has come to believe that he is responding not to a bruised ego, but to a genuine injustice. In essence, Trump has provided every single part of the supply chain: He provided the claim that the 2020 election was stolen; he provided the call for its results to be dismissed; he provided the means by which that dismissal might be achieved; and, in doing so, he provided those who wish to defend him with an easy rejoinder to their critics: “Sure, we want to tear up the system, but only because the other side did it first.”

Which, bluntly put, did not happen. Trump’s victory in 2016 was free and fair, and his loss in 2020 was, too. Trump lost his reelection bid because he is an ill-disciplined boor, and, if he were to secure the nomination in 2024, he’d lose that race for the same reason. One does not have to renounce his many achievements in office to observe that the man is a loser and a cheat, or to notice that he’s turned a significant number of his fans into losers and cheats as well. What Trump did in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election was monstrous. What he has taken to suggesting since then is even worse. American patriots do not seek to overturn legitimate election results or recommend the suspension of the United States Constitution; they respect and defend both at all costs. Donald Trump is not a patriot. He is, in his heart of hearts, a tyrant. Take note, America.

December 6, 2022. Tags: , , . Donald Trump, Police state.

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