Donald Trump’s distinctive rhetorical style — think of a drunk with a bullhorn reading aloud James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” under water — poses an almost insuperable challenge to people whose painful duty is to try to extract clarity from his effusions.
Last week, for example, during a long stream of semiconsciousness in Fort Worth, this man who as president would nominate members of the federal judiciary vowed to “open up” libel laws to make it easier to sue — to intimidate and punish — people who write “negative” things. Well.
Trump, the thin-skinned tough guy, resembles a campus crybaby who has wandered out of his “safe space.”
It is not news that he has neither respect for nor knowledge of the Constitution, and he probably is unaware that he would have to “open up” many Supreme Court First Amendment rulings in order to achieve his aim. His obvious aim is to chill free speech for the comfort of the political class, of which he is now a gaudy ornament.
But at least Trump has, at last, found one thing to admire from the era of America’s founding. Unfortunately, but predictably, it is one of the worst things done then — the Sedition Act of 1798.
The act made it a crime to “write, print, utter or publish, or cause it to be done, or assist in it, any false, scandalous and malicious writing against the government of the United States, or either House of Congress, or the President, with intent to defame, or bring either into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against either the hatred of the people.”
Now, 215 years after the Sedition Act expired in 1801, Trump vows to use litigiousness to improve the accuracy and decorousness of public discourse.
The night before his promise to make America great again through censorship, Trump, during the Houston debate, said that his sister, a federal judge, “(signed) a certain bill” and that (Supreme Court) Justice Samuel Alito also “signed that bill.”
So, the leading Republican candidate, the breadth of whose ignorance is the eighth wonder of the world, actually thinks that judges “sign bills.” Trump is a presidential aspirant who would flunk an eighth-grade civics exam.Read the rest of this George Will op-ed HERE.
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