Whether he's refusing to comply with congressionally approved subpoenas or claiming he has "total authority" to do "whatever" he wants, President Donald Trump's propensity to act like a king instead of an elected official is often the subject of criticism.
Now he's getting that criticism from people within his own party.
Republicans for the Rule of Law—a never-Trump Political Action Committee—released an ad criticizing the totalitarian tendencies of so-called "King" Trump, and the ad is set to air on the Conservative Fox News network.
Donald Trump Acts Like He's a King www.youtube.com
The ad rightly reminds the viewer that the American Revolution was fought to escape the rule of a king, replacing the states with rule by the people and subsequent accountability for each of the three branches of government.
It then says:
"President Trump thinks our Constitutional system doesn't apply to him. He's playing a dangerous shell game to avoid any accountability whatsoever."
The ad invokes the defense Trump is currently offering in an effort to escape oversight: he can refuse to comply with any congressional subpoenas and they can take him to court. The option to get the courts to enforce subpoenas was a key defense from Trump's legal team against the Obstruction of Congress charge in his impeachment trial.
Yet in court, Trump's team argues that the President can't be held accountable to the criminal justice system while in office, or else—they claim—political prosecutors would constantly harass the President (though this hasn't happened enough to burden any other President).
The solution Trump's defense team offers to the court? The President can only be held accountable by Congress via impeachment.
Lawfare Blog warns that the result of this contradiction is "an endless circle of non-accountability for the president and a fatal weakening of the system of checks and balances that are supposed to guarantee individual liberty."
The ad reminds the viewer one crucial message:
"No one is above the law and no one gets special treatment. Not even the President. If President Trump is telling both the courts and Congress that they can't hold him accountable, then who can? Only you."
People were heartened to see some Republicans speaking out against Trump.
I am so glad that there are still Republicans out there that understand that this president is dangerous. https://t.co/4dOuxzblkQ— Paul Delong (@Paul Delong)1589381470.0
This gave me hope that not all Republicans have lost their way with Trump. https://t.co/nLDJ0pMMgc— Diane (@Diane)1589203472.0
Interesting ad. Even more interesting is it comes from Republicans. I'm wondering if historically this has happened… https://t.co/mIrJLBNkaX— Sarah Kirby (@Sarah Kirby)1589237927.0
Because his propensity to act like a king is far too threatening.
What use is a republic if the exact same privileges apply to a presidency as did to King George III? George III wa… https://t.co/uRLmtgsK15— Bandy X Lee, MD, MDiv (@Bandy X Lee, MD, MDiv)1589387624.0
Every single President since Richard Nixon has made their tax returns public. The House lawfully requested that T… https://t.co/9n2RIThR99— Hakeem Jeffries (@Hakeem Jeffries)1589294338.0
Here's the thing, if @realDonaldTrump wins this case, the @GOP might as well go ahead and crown him King for life.… https://t.co/jTm6LCFhW8— Sarah Connor (@Sarah Connor)1589341246.0
For more details on Trump's authoritarian leanings, check out A Very Stable Genius, available here.