This week, due to extraordinary circumstances, Donald Trump did something truly extraordinary. Let’s begin with the circumstances.
Donald Trump’s company is on trial for developing, “a fraudulent scheme…that preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.” This scheme of course refers to Trump University, which past litigation has proven to not be a university at all.
We feel confident in predicting that Trump is the first major party nominee to ever face charges in federal court of preying upon the elderly and uneducated through a fake University. That alone is extraordinary.
But this week, in assessing what will obviously be a catastrophic loss for his company, Trump’s words themselves were without precedent.
“I have a Mexican judge. He’s of Mexican heritage. He should have recused himself, not only for that, for other things.”
Let’s ignore the purposefully ambiguous ending to Trump’s assertion. We have to focus on the meat of what he is saying here. This is a major party nominee for president claiming a judge of minority ethnicity should recuse himself from a case involving Trump, solely because Trump has said offensive things about that judge’s ethnicity in the past.
In other words, because Trump has called most Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers, promised to build a wall to keep them out and threatened to forcibly deport 11 million of them, no Mexican-American judge should be permitted to preside over his many legal quandaries due to an unavoidable bias.
Let’s begin by calling this what it is: deeply, profoundly and incomprehensibly racist. That a person of any particular race could not separate their heritage from the integrity of the judicial system is absurd, not to mention a flagrant contradiction to centuries of American dependence on an impartial judiciary.
But, we know Trump is racist. If you are still a supporter of this guy, you clearly don’t care about that.
Instead, let’s consider this. Presidents are primarily held accountable through the judiciary. Any executive orders, laws or policies that Trump implements can only be upheld or challenged through the courts. Like every administration for the past century, Trump’s justice department will be in court often to defend his policies.
And if Trump has his way, no judge will be permitted to preside over those cases if Trump has said offensive things about them in the past. That means no Latinos. No women. No African-Americans or Muslims. No disabled individuals, Asian-Americans or former POWS.
White men. That’s it. Or to be even more specific, only Trump’s supporters.
The New York Times editorial board did a great job this week articulating the danger that Trump’s anti-judiciary philosophy represents. Here we see it in practice.
Trump openly admits that only the tiny fraction of Americans that he has not dehumanized should fill the courts that would keep his administration in check. If he has given a judge any reason to dislike him, he will label him or her biased and unfit for the bench.
That’s terrifying. It’s also fascist. It’s the sort of philosophy that allows the Castros and Putins of the world to get away with whatever they want. But here we are, treating these statements as something resembling commonplace.
Please, know that they are not. Know that these statements are extraordinary. Know that they run counter to everything that the American system of checks and balances is built upon.
And for the love of God. Know that this guy can’t be president.