What will it take for supporters of former President Donald Trump to realize the man is depraved and perhaps demented?
This is at least the second time Trump has said he isn’t bound by the Constitution. His comments praising the world’s evildoers, meanwhile, have been too numerous to count.
Trump’s court filing on the Constitution was astonishing. Responding to a meritless lawsuit in Colorado that claims he has legally disqualified himself from running again for the presidency, Trump didn’t merely offer the obvious rejoinder that no court has come close to finding that he broke laws against “insurrection.” Instead, he went further, well into loony land.
In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Trump and his lawyers asserted that language in the 14th Amendment applying to federal officials who swore to “support” the Constitution does not apply to him. “The Presidential oath … requires the President to swear to ‘preserve, protect, and defend’ the Constitution,” they wrote, “not to ‘support the Constitution.’”
Really. As if there is a serious legal distinction in such cases between “support” and “preserve, protect, and defend.” Next thing you know, he’ll argue that even if “chewing” is forbidden, “ mastication ” is still allowed, or if “jogging” is forbidden somewhere, “running” is still perfectly OK.
Even putting definitional sophistry aside, here is a former president arguing, in a court document, that presidents are not legally required to support the Constitution. The mind reels. One might as well tell an air pilot that he isn’t legally required to land his plane.
This isn’t the first instance of Trump saying the nation’s foundational charter doesn’t apply to him. Last December, he said on social media that combating allegedly massive election fraud “allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” Set aside his flat-out lie about election fraud big enough to have changed election results in enough states for him to have won reelection: What’s worse is Trump’s assertion that the remedy for such alleged fraud can take place outside of the Constitution’s requirements for due process of law. He essentially was calling either for anarchy or dictatorship or for the first en route to the second.
On a human and fundamentally moral level, though, Trump’s insistence that he is above the Constitution, awful as it is, still isn’t as bad as compliments for Hezbollah terrorists and 24 hours of repeated criticisms of Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Even in the context of a riff in which Trump was criticizing the Biden administration, it was diplomatically abhorrent that Trump twice called Hezbollah “very smart.” It was, however, part of a continuing series of Trump expressing admiration for the world’s worst evildoers, as he repeatedly has called Chinese President Xi Jinping “brilliant” and other extravagant compliments , said he “fell in love ” with murderous North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un, and has rained so much praise on Russian thug Vladimir Putin, on so many occasions, that it’s tough to keep track.
As for Israel and Netanyahu, Trump blasted Israel not just once but repeatedly, even as it was mourning its more than 1,000 people killed by Hamas terrorists. Not only was Israel “not prepared,” he said, but its defense minister is “a jerk” and Netanyahu “let us down” somehow by not joining in Trump’s precision-missile strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in 2020.
The complaint itself is outlandishly illogical. Why would the United States need Israel, or anybody, to help the U.S. launch a basic drone strike? And why would the U.S. want Israel’s help when other Muslim nations were largely united against Iran’s mullahs but might have felt impelled to react vociferously against the operation if it were seen as ■■■ vs. Muslim? And why would Israel even have considered involvement when it was having success at the time in establishing relations with five of its Arab neighbors? And what does any of that have to do with this month’s attacks from Hamas?
Even setting logic aside, this was an outrageously harmful time for Trump to vent his vendetta against Netanyahu, whose real sin against Trump seems to be that he made a diplomatically routine call congratulating Joe Biden for being elected president. When close U.S. ally Israel faces a near-existential threat, with its women raped and babies beheaded, it isn’t just ill advised but monstrous for a recent U.S. president to undermine faith in Israel’s leadership.
With each passing week, Trump acts increasingly unhinged and unmoored from any semblance of decency. He is an elderly, word-slurring, rage-filled disgrace. And unlike what he claimed about Hezbollah, he no longer sounds the slightest bit smart.