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Trump Is Doing to Our Constitutional Order What He Did to Those Women


There’s a certain intellectual thrill of discovery that comes when an underlying pattern emerges from the murk of our reality.

For example, a person has a character that expresses a similar spirit across a diverse range of situations. Each situation may appear different, but the underlying structure can sometimes be discerned among the diversity of instances.

Take Trump. (Please!)

There seems to be visible in Donald Trump a remarkable and a remarkably dangerous spirit expressing itself similarly in two very different contexts.

First, there’s what he revealed about himself when he bragged on that Hollywood Access bus about how, because he is a star, women let him grab them by the p**sy.

The second context involves what has happened between Trump and Comey.

With the women, he obviously put his hands where the rules of decency say that a man should be “hands off.” He boasts of grabbing women with callous disregard for a basic value any man is supposed to respect: a woman’s right to control sexual access to her body.

The rule for a president is “hands off” also when it comes to the FBI and its investigations – especially if the investigation involves the president.

Yet the Comey affair – not only the firing, but also the requests for reassurance about the investigation, and even more so the reported demand for personal loyalty – reveals Trump likewise showing a callous disregard for a basic value that he, as president, is required to respect: the independence of the FBI.

The independence of the FBI is not a small thing, because it is a vital structural element in our constitutional order.  It is part of what has been institutionalized to realize the most basic constitutional values of the American system: “the rule of law”; the idea that “we are a nation of laws and not of men.”

The common structural element reveals: Trump is doing to our constitutional order what he did those women.

It is a part of his character to disrespect any of the proper boundaries that a decent man would allow to constrain his appetites – whether for sexual dominance or for the political power to rule.

He grabs what he wants.

What could be more dangerous in a president than such a trait ingrained deep in his character?

He has contempt for the rule of law. Let us use the law now to rid ourselves of this menace.

  • Andy Schmookler

    On Sunday, I wrote here on BV:

    “I expect the real coup de grace could come from Comey’s files, where
    there may well be proof of Trump’s demand for loyalty. (Comey is said to
    be excellent at creating the a record of sticky things that might some
    day come up. He has done it once before and could play the right
    memorandum when the occasion required it.)”

    Now there’s news that bears out the notion that Comey does write immediate memoranda to document any sketchy situations that he gets involved with. Today’s news is about a different act by Trump that is equally damning. He documented a meeting with Trump in which the President pressured Comey to back off Flynn.

    Here’s the headline of the present lead story on Huffington Post: “Donald Trump Reportedly Asked James Comey To Stop Michael Flynn Investigation.” The whole story can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/james-comey-memo-trump_us_591b6e8de4b0a7458fa3f31e?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

    I’m still betting there’s another memo documenting Trump demanding from Comey a pledge of personal loyalty.

    And either one of these should be enough to cook Trump’s goose.

    Or, if the Republicans want to continue to protect Trump with their embrace, slow-cook the whole Republican flock of geese.