Chief Justice Roberts: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Donald John Trump.
Donald Trump: I, Donald John Trump.
Roberts: Do solemnly swear.
Trump: Do smirkingly swear.
Roberts: That I will faithfully execute.
Trump: What is this “faithful” garbage?
Roberts: The office of the president of the United States.
Trump: The operations of the Trump Organization.
Roberts: And will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend . . .
Trump: Wait. What? I have a draft deferment.
Roberts: The Constitution of the United States.
Trump: Oh — that legal BS. Whew. Saw myself in uniform for a moment there.
Roberts: So help me God.
Trump: So help myself.
We cannot go verbatim here, not without an actual thought-stream transcript. However, I dare anyone of any stripe to counter this depiction.
Because from the very moment he strode into the light as the 45th U.S. president, Donald Trump has performed according to this script.
He is the president to whom no laws would apply, no moral standards would affix; no shame would ever tarnish his gold leaf.
Impeachment is in his future, written into that Constitution for when a president does unconscionable things. No problem. Trump says impeachment is unconstitutional.
He’s going to resist it – the Constitution — every step of the way, though obstructing Congress would be an article of impeachment in and of itself. It was for Richard Nixon.
As with the scores of actions he’s taken that have defied the law, he trusts that he can hide behind the black curtain he and Mitch McConnell built – the robes of a GOP-stacked Supreme Court majority.
We shall see.
It’s just one of many Supreme favors he’ll seek to cash in for his patronage now that one court orders his financial records surrendered to Congress, another says he can’t defy Congress on funding his “beautiful wall,” and one says he can’t make refugee status contingent on one’s bank balance.
As it is, Trump will continue to misappropriate Article II of the Constitution to assert that he can do anything he wants.
Judges who owe him nothing are having none of that.
In ruling that Manhattan prosecutors could proceed with their request for eight years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, federal Judge Victor Marrero called Trump’s assertion that he is immune from prosecutorial review “repugnant to our nation’s government structure.”
“Consider the reach of the president’s argument,” wrote Marrero. Trump’s claim of immunity “would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings.”
The Trump Standard, he wrote, “would encompass any conduct, at any time, in any forum whether federal or state.”
Well, yes, say Trump and his enablers. And they’ll go looking for any court that’ll say so.
We stand on the precipice of a Supreme Court ruling that would affirm – or unimaginably cast away – the 1974 ruling under which Nixon was ordered to hand over the White House tapes.
Brett Kavanaugh didn’t know he was auditioning for elevation to the nation’s highest court in a 1999 roundtable discussion when he said:
“Should U.S. v. Nixon be overruled on the ground that the case was nonjusticiable intrabranch dispute? Maybe so.”
We can assume that right after their handshake, Trump’s first question to Kavanaugh was, “Now, explain that word ‘nonjusticiable.’ I like that word.”
Or maybe, “Any dirt on Joe Biden? OK. Hillary?”
His defenders say the Democrats want to relitigate the 2016 election. But listen to Trump’s rallies. The man our Electoral College chose has yet to turn the calendar from that Election Night.
These concerns all depict and summarize Donald Trump’s chief priority in office: occupation.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.