Richard Davis: An arrogant dictator takes the next step
There is talk of this county now being in a state of constitutional crisis. That happened months ago and one might even make a case that it began the day that Trump was sworn in as President. He has no respect for the Constitution and it is not clear if he even understands the history of this country in relation to the Constitution.
Trump's actions indicate that he could care less about the U.S. Constitution and the system of checks and balances that the founders of this country put in place to make sure that power not be concentrated in one branch of government. When there is a power hungry egomaniac in the office of President the legacy and wisdom of the principles of a country's foundation become vulnerable. The operation of government needs to rely on a degree of trust and cooperation and a respect for the truth. We no longer have that.
I have been trying to imagine what kind of conversations may be playing out at the White House these days as Trump finds new ways to obstruct justice and ignore laws and the Constitution. Pat Cipollone is the chief White House counsel and I suspect that he and Trump may be having some interesting conversations about how to interact with congress.
What follows could be fodder for Saturday Night Live or simply my own fantasy, but I think that as current events have unfolded this conversation may be close to the mark.
Trump: So, Pat, here's the question I need you to answer for me. No one will ever know we had this conversation and I will deny it ever happened and just keep calling it fake news. Think Don McGahn.
All of these subpoenas from Congress. Who really cares if my people go to these hearings and testify? My base likes it when I defy Congress so why shouldn't I keep doing it? It will help with my re-election.
Cipollone: Well, Mr. President, there are a few issues at play here. Congress does have the legal power to force testimony by way of subpoenas. Actually, it is their job to investigate situations they think need to be investigated and the President is supposed to keep his nose out of their business, but we all know that never happens.
Trump: Yah, Yah I know all of that crap. I know they can try to force people to testify but what I really want to know is what happens if people ignore their subpoenas.
Cipollone: It's not a matter of whether they comply with or ignore subpoenas. It's really a matter of whether or not the people running this country respect the Constitution. The Constitution creates a separation of powers so that the President, Congress or the judiciary cannot run roughshod over the other branches.
Trump: **** the Constitution. I want my own Constitution and this country voted in Donald J. Trump and this country is going to be ruled by Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump is going to get his way and do what he wants. Did you hear that Pat?
Cipollone: I hear that Mr. President. But what you are proposing is that we switch our form of government to a dictatorship.
Trump: Call it whatever the **** you want. This is my government and I'll do whatever I want. What really happens if we ignore Congress and never testify when they ask my people to show up?
Cipollone: Mr. President, we can sue and tie up the congressional committees in court for quite a long time. The issues they are trying to expose will never get talked about and the news will be about you and your team defying Congress.
Trump: This sounds very, very good. I like it.
Cipollone: When the founding fathers created this country they believed that honorable men would be in charge and that they would be able to trust each other. They did not envision a world in which government leaders created their own truth and then ran the country based on their own idea of government.
Trump: They didn't know about Donald J. Trump, did they? This is my country and I'm the President and I can do whatever I want. So are you telling me that I can make sure that Congress does not try to find out anything about my actions and those of my staff by simply tying them up in court?
Cipollone: It all comes down to whether you want to work with Congress, a collaboration that was envisioned by those who wrote the Constitution, or whether you want to defy the Constitution and have it your way.
Trump: The Constitution is a very, very old piece of **** and my supporters know it. They are happy when I ignore it so that's what I'm going to do. We can rally around the Second Amendment when it suits us and no one will call us hypocrites, because that would be un-American We can tie up Congress until long after I leave office and I will still be in the headlines as the guy who made America great.
Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.
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