Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
On his television show the Apprentice when Donald Trump did not like someone he fired the person. In real estate when he wanted to buy or sell property he needed no one’s permission or approval. If someone disagreed with any of his decisions he/she swallowed hard and accepted the result. He gave instructions or orders and there were no rules of procedure which he needed to follow. If Trump had his way—as he believes he should—this would be how Trump would govern. It is more and more obvious that Trump has no respect for facts or processes which is the basis on which democratic governments function.
President Trump could not understand why his orders to restrict immigration required anyone’s approval. He did not comprehend how his orders could be overturned or limited. His tweet yesterday disallowing transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military does not just happen because Trump tweeted it. The military, like the Justice Department, has rules and procedures. Trump can decide how, when, and where to spend his own money or buy or sell his own property. It is his to do with as he wishes. A President can reverse executive orders which President Obama had put into place but he cannot sign an executive order or tweet instructions and turn matters around affecting the entire U.S. military with the speed of a tweet. Governments do not work on a whim or a tweet. Secretary of Defense Mattis apparently was only informed about Trump’s intentions the day before and the response today of the military brass is clearly one of apoplexy.
President Trump refuses to accept any rules other than his own. This is also why he never makes mistakes and whenever anything goes wrong it is someone else’s fault. Lying about what he has done or said or intended is totally acceptable. He just denies anything that conflicts with whatever he wishes.
Similarly, Trump cannot comprehend that there is an authority above him and no one is even addressing the possibility of a Divine authority. Consequently, it is impossible for Trump to accept that loyalty to him does not exceed that which one owes to the Constitution and the laws of the land. Sessions recusal is incomprehensible because it brings disrespect to the President and reflects an absence of paramount loyalty to Trump.
For Trump there are no facts. Truths are what Trump says is true and he can change it and deny ever having said something else. As George Orwell explained in 1984, facts are not facts except those manufactured as facts. Lies can be handled by the Ministry of Truth, and it determines what are the truths.
Beware of what is to come.