Wednesday, June 24, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He declared himself above the law.

COVID-19 diagnoses hit a new all-time daily high in the United States today, with more than 38,000 new cases reported. 

The worst of the initial outbreak happened in and around New York City, but new cases are sharply down in the tri-state area. Today, the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut announced a 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling to their states who has been in a state with a high number of cases.

That would include Donald Trump, who yesterday held a crowded indoor rally in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump plans to visit his luxury golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey this weekend, as he does almost every weekend.

Today, Trump signaled that he had no intention of complying with the orders, which have the force of state law. "The president of the United States is not a civilian," a spokesperson said

Actually, the president of the United States is always a civilian, even if they once served in the military—which Trump notoriously did not

But whether or not that statement was meant literally, it's a pretty good summary of Trump's assumption that rules don't apply to him. He's declared that the Constitution gives him the power to "do whatever I want". (It doesn't; that's a dictatorship.) He's fired government watchdogs throughout the executive branch, and virtually declared war on the United States' own intelligence community for its pre-election efforts to stop Russia from interfering in the election on his behalf. 

Hundreds of people travel with Trump during his weekly taxpayer-funded visits to his resort homes, ranging from his personal household servants to his Secret Service detail. Two of the six people working his Tulsa rally event who tested positive for COVID-19 were Secret Service agents, and their illness has now forced dozens more into self-isolation. Trump hasn't commented on that, but he's known to be extremely careful about his own exposure to the virus, demanding that people around him wear the masks he refuses to wear because he's afraid of looking "weak."

Why does this matter?

  • The president of the United States is not above the law.
  • The health and safety of the American people is more important than Donald Trump's golf game or political fortunes.