President Trump did it again today, in the wake of revelations that the president asked former FBI Director James Comey for a pledge of personal loyalty last January- a radically inappropriate pledge from an official whose loyalty must always be to the Constitution and whose duties to it might well require him to oppose the president. a pledge of personal loyalty from the FBI director last January.s
That's another thing one would expect anyone with any regard for the Constitution and our system of government would be profoundly disturbed by, but which somehow fails to disturb supporters of the president who brag so loudly about their loyalty to the Constitution. But that's one of the many other things about the authoritarian in the Oval Office which would surely set off alarm bells in anyone honestly concerned about that Constitution.
Today, the president- whose impulsiveness and bad judgment seems proven anew almost every day- tweeted (!) a threat to Comey not to "leak" information- hinting at a Nixon-style clandestine taping system that had recorded compromising statements by the former FBI director!
Donald Trump has threatened everyone from Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts (a Republican) to Sen. John McCain (another Republican) to the media (quite regularly) to the Republican National Committee over the past year and a half. This has usually been a threat to sue. On other occasions, it's been a general warning that critics "had better watch out." The implication that the power of the Federal government might be abused to persecute Trump critics has always been implicit in these unspecified threats. And even more disturbing, Trump supporters picked up on his threatening rhetoric early in the campaign
Intimidation is not a weapon used by people who value the Constitution. It is Donald Trump's stock-in-trade and that of the Alt-Right core of his support. Yet traditional Republicans who have sold out to a man who is the enemy of everything their party has ever stood for somehow are not disturbed at the spectacle of a president of the United States who has apparently never heard of a dictator or authoritarian leader he didn't like using the tactics of authoritarianism against their fellow Americans. And they will neither ever live down the shame or deserve to.
One trusts that Mr. Comey, a man of intelligence and integrity, will not be bullied by the president and will tell his side of the story fearlessly and forthrightly, as the Constitution guarantees him the right to do. And one hopes that at some point all of those who are so deeply in denial about it wake up to the seriousness of having elected a president who is not only erratic, ignorant, impulsive, and thin-skinned to a degree nobody who enters public life in America has any right to be, but a bully on top of it all.
Now, about this Oval Office taping system, Mr. President.....