It’s the Constitution’s Fault!

As I watch the unfolding train wreck that is the Trump Administration, and talk with friends and colleagues, it’s increasingly clear that most of us are more mystified and appalled than angry. (Not that we aren’t angry…)

How, we ask each other, could anyone be so ignorant of the most basic rules that govern our society? How could someone whose background was entertainment and whose entire focus was ratings be so oblivious to massively negative public opinion? How can anyone get to the ripe old age of 70 without even a shred of self-awareness?

And of course, the recurring question: why would anyone vote for this ignorant buffoon? It’s not like his abundant deficits weren’t obvious during the campaign.

I don’t have answers to most of those questions, but I think a recent article in the Independent, a British newspaper, sheds some light on Trump’s path to constitutional crisis.

The article was one of many that attempted to evaluate Trump’s first 100 days in office; it reported on an interview with the President’s favorite source of “news.” (Note quotation marks.)

Donald Trump has blamed the US constitution for the problems he has encountered during his first 100 days in office.

In an interview with Fox News to mark the milestone, the Republican called the system of checks and balances on power “archaic”.

“It’s a very rough system,” he said. “It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.”

Lest we shrug this off as just another “open mouth, let stuff come out” incident in Trump’s stream-of-(semi)consciousness mode of utterances, I would simply point out that everything he has done in office has been consistent with contempt for, or ignorance of, America’s charter, and his unwillingness to be bound by the rule of law–indeed, his clear lack of comprehension of what “rule of law” is or means.

I think I’m going to add a codicil to that question about American voters. Why would anyone vote for a man who quite clearly does not understand or even pretend to value the legal premises of the country he was proposing to lead–a man who is unwilling to give even lip service to the U.S. Constitution?

To date, I am unaware of any Republican criticism of Trump’s comment.

What happened to all the posturing bloviators who constantly profess their undying devotion to a constitution they clearly don’t understand? Why aren’t they registering shock and concern at the President’s airy dismissal of America’s founding document?

What happened to all those pompous assholes who whip a small copy of the Constitution out of their pockets at the slightest provocation? Where are the members of the NRA’s Church of the Second Amendment? Where are all the pious frauds who constantly promote their  ahistorical version of the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty?

Surely they are all appalled. Where are they?

And a more pressing question: why are Congressional Republicans continuing to enable and defend a man who not only dishonors the Constitution by word and deed, but also poses an unmistakable threat to American democratic institutions at home and the country’s stature abroad?

Can you imagine their response if Obama had said or done any of these things?

Of course, Trump’s white. (Okay, orange, but close….)


  1. Trump’s obvious ignorance of the constitution and yet be elected is simply due to the similar ignorance of those who voted for him. Free elections can bring disastrous results when the nation’s largest news network throws its resources behind an idiot.

    Another point: Trump’s age, lack of a healthy life style, consumption of junk food, lack of exercise, and adequate sleep may soon take its toll. I doubt that he will finish his first term due to poor health.

  2. Each and every one of these questions is valid in content and deserves a valid response…which we will never see from this administration.

    My question is; how did all of these elected officials, the entire GOP and Congress, the other wannabe presidential nominees who dropped out so quickly to leave the path open for Trump, NOT KNOW WHO DONALD TRUMP was and is? He has been headline news for more than 30 years with his sexual, marital exploits, under-handed business dealings, bankruptcies and that silly TV production of “The Apprentice” which gave the country a preview of his presidency. I never watched “The Apprentice” because it was Donald Trump and I had already seen enough of his egotistic, maniacal, ridiculous publicity seeking.

    Here are a few more questions; didn’t he brag repeatedly before getting the nomination that his financial worth was around $13 BILLION? How much of that does he retain today; did he use much of it to buy another Trump periodic residence, our national shrine, The White House? Is he still paying for the political support that keeps him where he is today? The entire Republican presidential “campaign” has been questionable from the beginning. The Russian connection is only party of it; how much did the GOP and Congress know about, ignore and condone to put him in office?

    “And a more pressing question: why are Congressional Republicans continuing to enable and defend a man who not only dishonors the Constitution by word and deed, but also poses an unmistakable threat to American democratic institutions at home and the country’s stature abroad?”

    I believe the Congressional Republicans continue to enable and defend this fool because he has not yet signed all Executive Orders repealing President Obama’s and previous protective legislation their anti-Obama “committee” listed as their goals against the “colored guy” in the White House. Then too, there are all those billions he had which are being increased with our tax dollars to support his entire family and in-laws in bogus administrative positions and his many Trump residences and golf courses. “Follow the money” in this instance has many roads leading in all directions and they are currently being blocked by the Republican Congress.

    I will ask again; how much damage will he do on this tour of foreign countries; this questionable tour to countries he continues to attempt to ban their immigrants from crossing our borders? And, did he plan this “tour” as a peace-making effort or did he flee the country knowing what was coming with the Russian investigations gaining momentum? Will enough Republicans regain their American loyalty to fully investigate the entire Trump administration in time to protect us from nuclear war?

    I no longer wake up feeling secure in America as an American; I wake up daily (after very little sleep) in fear. Fear which escalates as Trump adds his daily dose of insanity, confusion and “deconstruction” of our democracy.

  3. After reading today’s post, I saw several Trump voters speaking to reporters on TV.
    These are profoundly stupid voters. And they vote. How can you fix stupid?

  4. We are angry at the elected members of Congress who haven chosen to be silent. They are the ones who loudly condemned Obama on a daily basis. They fabricated stories to rile up the public against Obama and all Democrats. We are angry because their lust for power and money is pure evil. They have no qualms about destroying our society and they have no problem sleeping at night while they rip the rug out from under the ignorant people who voted them into office.

  5. We are going through what the ancient Egyptians did with their “illnesses”. They had 3 great Kingdoms and each one curtailed into a time of warfare, economic weaknesses, and an unstable dynasty of rulers which historians have called an Illness.
    Most powerful states and empires have been through these things. Fwiw, I have to say that although the UK did go through them, too, in the 20th century, theirs have not been so dangerous to the rest of the world as ours is shaping up to be under the Republicans. Ours is more like the last decades of the Roman Republic.

  6. How can people vote for someone who has no knowledge, much less respect, for the constitution? Simple. Most of those who voted for him know no more about the constitution than he does. Ever since Ronald Reagan (a smoother Trump – remember the Teflon business), the Republicans have been saying that a giant abstraction called “Washington” has been taking away their rights. So why not vote for someone who wants to “disarticulate” the system (Not that he knows what disarticulate means).

  7. They care about capitalism. Period. That’s it. That’s their only allegiance.

    When they started tossing empirical data and scientific research out of the window because it demonstrates anthropogenic climate change and requires they put the kibash on fossil fuels — 20 years ago — we should have been alarmed. They were tipping their hand then.

  8. As a people, we got what we deserved. 43% of eligible voters failed to vote.

  9. I fear that in future constitutional convention, the Bill of Rights would not pass intact.

  10. When I heard this comment by Trump I was just stunned, then appalled and angry. I have never, ever, heard a sitting President or even members of both Houses of the Congress ever criticize the Constitution let alone criticize it in such a flippant way as if it was a menu that didn’t suit his tastes. Never. Normally all of them would have at least some semblance of knowledge of our history, the supreme importance of this document, and understanding of the time frame in which it was created. To have a President be so devoid of concepts and knowledge that have always been a given in regard to our leaders and the core of our concept of citizenship for so many generations is plainly dangerous. He is a pox on all our houses.

  11. It’s hard to believe, but things could apparently be worse. In the beginning, there were 17 Republican candidates for the Presidency. Sixteen of them lost to Fake President Donald Trump. If any of the 16 losers had won, just think what a mess we’d be in. The truth would be unimportant. The Constitution would just be another piece of paper. And nobody would respect anybody.

    But wait a minute. Those things have already happened. It has been suggested that Republican voters can cure these problems by getting their heads out of their asses. Hurray for wishful thinking.

  12. Why think when you have a so-called “News” network telling you what to think 24/7 ? These people voted for #45 because they simply don’t know any better and we’re all suffering for it.
    And 43% of people didn’t vote.
    Nice rant Professor.

  13. It is indeed amazing to listen to the deafening silence coming from the Republicans. They seem so desperate to get their pro-rich people, pro-business agenda through the President’s signature, that they will endure the sedition and treason that Trump and his mouth keep committing.

    It is telling that Congressional Republicans act so hypocritically. It tells us that they no longer feel obliged to the American people, but only to those who send them money; lots and lots of money.

  14. Bill Maher has come up with a better name, other than just 45. The Orange Sphincter

  15. It just so happens that I am ready to publish a blog I wrote earlier this morning before reading Shelia’s piece. I lambasted the Republicans for not doing something about this narcissistic madman they have foisted off on us before the Republic falls, and I specifically zeroed in on Senator Lindsay Graham, the South Carolinian senator who never saw a defense contractor appropriation he didn’t like and who got to be a senator on the back of the Clinton sex scandal from his lowly position in the House with his offended sense of morality and ethics. I asked rhetorically how he could go all out to throw Clinton out of office for one lie when the man he supports in the Oval Office has told them by the hundreds, how one sexual escapade equalled those of a man who brags about grabbing women because he can since he “is a star, has cheated on all three women he married etc.? It is time to train at least some of our artillery on the Republicans in general who are allowing this travesty to continue, since presidents come and go, but when our democracy goes down the drain, that’s forever. Read Athenian history.

  16. Here’s a hypothesis. Our lifestyle has led to a culture of extreme self centeredness and that culture elected their king of it.

    It seems that many of the Donald’s daily blunders can be explained by a viewpoint of his that he is the center of the universe that creates what orbits it and he’s mystified and perplexed that there appears to people who feel they can exist outside of his wishes.

    He can’t, I would guess, imagine being defined by limitations scribbled on an old hunk of parchment. It’s inconceivable. People who are merely crumbs at his table are witch hunting him. Who do they think they are? Don’t they even worship wealth like his Congressional minions do?

    He was expecting absolute power, universal loyalty, pervasive respect.

    What he’s finding is that steely eyed reality is saying “you’re fired “.

    Will that also signal the start of our recovery?

  17. I actually heard him on the radio last week (?) , when he was threatening to stop the press briefings, he was talking about the RATINGS!!!!! Bragging that his press briefing are killing it on daytime television, they are the ratings leader!!!! What is this guys agenda? It certainly isn’t to lead a free and democratic government. He doesn’t realize his position is “in service” to the citizens of the country, not the other way around.

  18. IMO, the answer — to why the Republicans in Congress haven’t abandoned Trump? — is pretty simple. They still think they can use him to get their agenda enacted into law. Plus, as others here have alluded to, Trump is still popular with the “base” of those who voted him and them into office. It’s just us “snowflakes,” whatever that actually means if anything, that see any problems, and it’s just “fake news” anyway.

  19. Jean; if by “ratings” he means the most news reports for one man’s stupidity on a daily basis…he certainly is leading. We have seem more of him the past two years than all of his wives and mistresses have seen added together for years

    Those who are smart enough to hack hundreds of businesses and hospitals world-wide and hack the DNC and Hillary Clinton here; certainly one of them can come up with an automatic “reject” to replace Trump’s face with a blank space. We would know by the blank space who the article is about but not have to see him.

  20. DT swore an oath to preserve and protect a document he clearly has not read and has dismissed as “archaic”. For such an astute and, by his own estimation, brilliant businessman, he has broken the first rule of business. Don’t sign it until you have read it and understand the conditions of your commitment to fulfilling it.

    His supporters typify those who are the victims of fraud and scams. They have often signed off on something they have not read or understand until it becomes clear that they have lost their shirts to a con artist. Until the assets are all gone, they will continue to believe that they were smart to trust someone who promised something that sounded too good to be true. It is hard to admit when one has been taken for a fool.

    The silent complicity of almost all the Republican Congressional delegation underscores their willingness to look the other way while hoping to pass their own con in the agenda that will enrich them and their handlers with complete disregard to the consequences to the fools who have elected them to office again and again.

  21. He is the living embodiment of the sum of all that is the Baby Boom generation. Self. Self. Self.

    What we need is a maximum voting age.

  22. Two things:
    First, if Trump truly wants dictatorial power, the Constitution must be declared archaic and in need of a re-write in order to justify making the power shift. (Of course, this assumes he is smart enough to figure that out. More likely, it was a hissy fit because he wasn’t getting his way.) In any case, where are the Republicans who declared that the executive branch had too much power?
    Second, the division in America today reflects the same division that has been a part of the boomer generation going back to the sixties and Viet Nam. You can’t throw all the boomers into one pot any more than you can say that the millennials are the “Me, Me, Me Generation” (Time, 5/20/13) or that they are all lazy – none of which is true. This stereotyping of generations is as ageist as stereotyping blacks or asians is racist, and just as abhorrent.

  23. I’m a boomer and I never supported Trump or any of his “ideas”. He targeted desperate people with his campaign rhetoric and they were desperate enough to believe him. I guess some of them were boomers too, but he wasn’t elected by boomers. The slow motion train wreck is entertaining to me only because I feel it continually demonstrates his ineptness, but it has to end before it’s too late and, as others have pointed out, before Ryan and McConnell get his signature on legislation that kills health care, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and gives the net to dark money.

  24. No one with more than a few functioning brain cells can deny Trump’s fatuousness or his complete lack of understanding of so many basic subjects, the U.S. Constitution being only one of them. However, I think it’s time we at least seriously consider that it is, in fact, the fault of the Constitution that we have a Donald Trump as our Chief Executive.

    There’s a good argument to be made that our current constitution has, at some point in the past, failed to successfully guide our country during times so completely changed and different from the late 1780s.

    If one wants to be nostalgic, let’s not forget the circumstances under which our current constitution was created.

  25. Mark; if people will read the Constitution, Article II, Section 1, paragraph 5 explains the lack of requirements to become president of the United States. Paragraph 6 explains how to remove a president who has the “Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office,” they will see that it takes Pence and the Congress to act in their official capacity, in keeping with the Constitution, to remove Trump from office.

    How soon do you believe we can expect this action to begin?

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