Trump Is America’s First Lawless President

tags: Founding Fathers, GOP, Trump

The Daily Beast special correspondent Michael Tomasky is also editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Follow Michael Tomasky on Twitter at @mtomasky.

The Founding Fathers weren’t all that interested in creating a democracy. You need to know this. 

Oh, they created one, because they knew that legitimacy devolved from the people. But they were fearful that it could lead to mob rule. What they really set out to create was a republic.

The distinction is crucial. A democracy is a country where the majority rules. A republic is a nation of laws. This was the founders’ number one priority. There’s that famous Ben Franklin quote, when they walked out of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and a woman saw him and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” He replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Our republic—our system of laws—is under assault in a way I’ve never seen and I don’t think has ever happened. Richard Nixon was a lawbreaker. He was not utterly and thoroughgoingly lawless. There’s a difference. Donald Trump is a lawless president. It’s obvious to anyone who’s watching and isn’t in a state of contemptible denial that he feels constrained by no law. He cares nothing about the Constitution and he’ll lie about anything to anyone at anytime. That’s difference one.

Difference two: Nixon had no “news” channel defending and egging on his every lawless act. Trump, of course, does. That Fox chyron over the weekend, “A Coup in America?”, was shocking even for Fox. Referring to law enforcement agencies, to the FBI, as carrying out a coup? Because they have the audacity to investigate Dear Leader? ...

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