Donald Trump exhibits every characteristic of a wannabe dictator, right up to his false mane of golden hair (which is a wig).
He has absolute contempt for the rule of law. In a nation that can trace its reliance on the rule of law back to its very beginning, he willfully asserts that our laws don’t apply to him.
During his time in the White House, he has derailed every aspect of our government. He has packed the courts. He has gutted the Department of Justice and the Department of State. He has left empty more than half of the most important positions in our government — the people who would make the most difficult decisions and have the most important experience aren’t there anymore. He has destroyed our expertise on Iran, and climate change, even on agriculture.
He drew his cabinet from the richest one percent of America’s millionaires — it is the wealthiest, and most corrupt, in U.S. history; and, from their walled and gated mansions, its members have shown how little they care about ordinary Americans. From the beginning of his more than 31 months in office, he has gazed benignly at and encouraged such a tall heap of crimes and scandals that it’s impossible to see over them.
He has been caught in more than 12,000 public lies now, and he’s adding more all the time. He has countenanced new crimes and scandals every day, and he has pardoned offenders judged guilty in our courts, as an autocrat — a garden-variety dictator — might do.
He has spun out ream after ream of fictional non-statistics about immigrants. He has thrown babies and their mothers into wired dog kennels. And now he wants to lock up migrant children indefinitely in concentration camps — once again dodging court decrees — without outside supervision, and under the abysmal conditions we’ve seen on TV.
He has persuaded large numbers of Americans to believe almost anything that he or his allies say, no matter how dishonest or untrue it is. No wonder he pines to be above the law, to be king, for what he says and does is what tyrants say and do.
As Dan Rather, the longtime CBS newsman and commentator, has written: “Trump’s rationalizations are chilling. They betray a complete disconnect from our constitutional government, and thus are themselves an act of betrayal. There, in black and white, is an outline of a monarchy and not a republic.”
Trump has mused time and again that he might, and should, stay in the White House more than eight years, ignoring the law that says a president may serve no more than two continuous terms. He has joked about that archly before. But, in wildly raging comments recently, he gave no indication he was trying to be humorous, declaring, “At the end of six years, after America has been made GREAT again . . . do you think the people would demand that I stay longer?”
- Beyond that, in his same comments, he promoted a claim that many Jewish people consider him biblically the “King of Israel.”
- Then, in his megalomania, glancing toward the heavens, he declared he was the “Chosen One.”
A man without any vestige of belief, without any semblance of mercy, reaches out to declare himself a god, as the Roman emperors did. What will he do next? To whom will he answer?
Robert P. Bomboy has written for more than 60 national magazines and is the author of six books, including the novel “Smart Boys Swimming in the River Styx.” He taught for more than 30 years in colleges and universities, and he has been a Ford Foundation Fellow at the University of Chicago and in Washington, D.C.