Thursday, May 24, 2018
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He hurt himself

Trump-613

President Donald Trump speaks in Blue Ash, Ohio.

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President Donald Trump, speaking in the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash, Ohio, last week, said he thought it “un-American” and maybe even “treasonous” for Democrats not to clap during his State of the Union speech.

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“You’re up there, you’ve got half the room going totally crazy, wild. ... And you have the other side, even on positive news — really positive news, like that — they were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, ‘treasonous.’ I mean, yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”

It was clear he was being hyperbolic and facetious. He laughed as he delivered the treason line. But, as Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) said, “Treason is not a punchline.”

It is also true that Democrats and liberal pundits regularly questioned the patriotism of critics of President Obama. And, as one of the collectors of these quotes remarked, they were not kidding.

This has been going on, since Joseph McCarthy and President Richard Nixon’s odious, crooked vice president Spiro T. Agnew: equating criticism of a person with lack of love for the country and equating disagreement with treason. If you don’t like me, you don’t love our country. It’s the Big Lie of American politics and no president should partake of it.

The bottom line is that trifling with an important word and concept like treason diminishes the concept and diminishes the speaker. In the case of President Trump, such reckless talk diminishes his presidency and distracts from his policy agenda. It also makes it harder for him to work with his critics in Congress on future projects.

The president got laughter and applause in Blue Ash, but he hurt himself.

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