(c) 2017 by Paul DuginskiUsed only with express written permission
Over the weekend, Donald Trump referred to Seattle federal judge James L. Robart as a “so-called judge.”
Robart, a Republican nominated to the bench by President George W. Bush, no less, had blocked implementation of Trump’s controversial immigration ban. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Sunday rejected an emergency request by the Trump Justice Department for a stay of that order.
So the judicial branch of our system is providing a check on the power of the executive branch. This is precisely as the Founding Fathers intended.
Trump has issued a flurry of executive orders during his new presidency, some of which strike many Americans as being authoritarian. Remember when Republicans and the hate-talk radio entertainers were calling President Obama a dictator because of his executive orders? In his first days in office, Obama issued slightly more executive orders than Trump, but they were mostly all on mundane matters. Trump’s have been highly controversial, such as his Muslim ban, and executive orders to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, attack Dodd-Frank and to build the wall along our southern border.
Trump’s orders are more like the dictatorial actions by his idol, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl broadcast of his admiration for Putin. When O’Reilly asked Trump how he could respect Putin, when “Putin’s a killer,” Trump’s response was, “We’ve got a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”
He bought up the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and said, “Take a look at what we’ve done, too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes.”
Can you imagine the screeching and braying from the GOP if Obama had said that? Remember eight years ago how Michelle Obama was pilloried for saying this: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country … not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.” Michelle Obama can trace her ancestors back to slaves, so there genuinely are parts of America’s history that aren’t anything for her to be proud of.
Republicans seized on that and bludgeoned Obama with it for weeks. In retrospect, we’ve seen how the Obamas discharged their duties and served in the White House respectfully with distinction, dignity and honor, without creating shame or scandal for the American people like the nascent Trump administration. Imagine the shame factory the Trump White House will be when it is fully up and running.
Meanwhile, last week, Trump seemed not to know who Frederick Douglass was. That’s not something for a president to be proud of, but it’s par for the course.
So Trump fantasizes about being an authoritarian ruler free of the checks and balances built into our democratic system — like his hero, Vladimir Putin, the stone-cold killer with the dead, shark-like eyes.
Can you imagine the embarrassment of our founding fathers if they were around to read tweets from our so-called president, Donald Trump? The Donald’s admiration for the Russian dictator is enough to make the granite faces on Mount Rushmore blush.