All we’ve heard for the last four years is that President Donald Trump is a would-be authoritarian who would jump at the slightest chance to expand his executive powers into those of a fascist dictator. We’ve heard that he has a soft spot for strongmen like Vladimir Putin, Rodrigo Duterte, and Xi Jinping, and would love to count himself among their number. We’ve even heard that he keeps the writings of Adolf Hitler underneath his bed, reading them, we presume, when he wants to plot his takeover of U.S. democracy.
So, the time has arrived, has it not? The stock market is in freefall. State governors are practically ordering entire populations to shelter in place. Businesses are closing down, and some of them may never reopen. We have a national emergency that could turn out to be worse than any crisis this country has faced in the modern era. If there has ever been a scenario in which an American president could use circumstances to expand his powers, override our checks and balances, and turn the U.S. into a dictatorial empire, this would seem to be it.
“Despite pleas from governors, members of Congress and presidential candidates, President Trump so far has resisted using his powers under the Defense Production Act as officials look to ramp up the American medical system’s capacity in anticipation of a spike in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic,” reports Fox News.
Though Trump invoked the act on Wednesday, “he has not actually taken action under the law,” according to the report. In a tweet, he said that while he thought it necessary to sign the law to give his administration options, “hopefully there will be no need” to enforce it.
Okay, but how about his attempt to take over leadership of blue cities and states like California and New York? You know, it couldn’t have been more obvious last weekend that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was in the midst of making the mistake of a lifetime when he was pushing to keep public schools open. That’s why Trump stepped in, put federal officials in charge of New York’s public safety, and essentially declared himself the arbiter of what would – and would not – happen in that state.
Oh wait, he’s done nothing of the sort. Instead, he’s bent over backwards to let state governors handle this situation as they see fit, acknowledging readily that they have a better sense of what they need on the ground than anyone in Washington could possibly know. He’s made the federal government ready and able to help in this crisis, but he’s stayed so tightly within his boundaries as president that even some leftists have complained that he’s not being authoritarian ENOUGH! My, how the tables have turned.
At every juncture, Trump has made every possible effort to protect the rights of states and the rights of citizens at a time when a true would-be dictator would be doing just the opposite. We certainly hope his critics will remember that when all this is over.