Republicans Will Not Challenge Trump and Trump Is Willing Ultimately to Take Down the Country
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
Events over the past week have highlighted why the Founding Fathers in their abundant wisdom created a Constitution as they did and why President Trump really does care. The Mueller rhythms suggest daily that Donald Trump is in deep trouble but even more seriously so is the nation. If the President fires Mueller, the ensuing crisis could escalate to the point that the Republic created 231 years ago could be endangered if it were taken over by an authoritarian ruler who defies and rejects the Constitution.
It is clear that the President recognizes that he is in trouble. If this were not the case, he would not be continuing to add lawyers to his defense team and ratcheting up the pressure against those he perceives to be “out to get him.” When a person is innocent one does not continue to waste hours issuing threatening and destructive tweets largely to distract his protagonists. He wants the entire country and certainly his base to believe he is being unfairly attacked.
Trump developed a reputation for enjoying litigation. In his world of real estate, as in poker, so much of business is the game. Government management, however, is not a game although politics certainly is. Governing the Republic is a very serious business considering that you are presiding over the welfare of 330 million people.
The Constitution and the law set the rules, not the players. Article II of the Constitution dealing with the Presidency is very short. Most scholars explain this based on fact that the Founding Fathers assumed that Washington would be their president; after all he had refused their request to be king or at least president for life. The Founders believed that George Washington would establish precedents. Later Presidents would never deem to consider conducting the affairs of state any differently than had Washington. None of this does Donald Trump accept or appreciate.
Second, the political dilemma that the nation faces, is that the members of Trump’s Party, especially in the Senate, continue to be unwilling to stand up to the President; even for the good of the nation. GOP leaders hope that by refraining from attacking the President, they will at least continue to retain control of the Senate after the mid-term elections.
The nation is therefore doubly threatened. First, it is clear that Trump is determined to win his fight with Mueller whatever it costs the nation. Second, leaders in the Republican Party are convinced that the party has much more to lose in November by disagreeing with Trump and challenging him than by just letting him carry on and hopefully not get eviscerated in November.