In his speech at the Democratic National Convention last week, Khizr Khan, a Muslim-American lawyer and father of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, waved a pocket copy of the Constitution in the air and challenged Donald Trump. Referencing the Republican’s call to ban Muslims from entering the country — a policy that would’ve prevented Khan’s heroic son from becoming an American — Khan posed a question to Trump: “Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of the law.’”
Trump responded in a statement: “Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, which is false.”
It may be the case that Trump has read the Constitution. But to go by his public positions, it remains a question whether he understands it. From early in his campaign, critics have been consistently astonished by his seeming indifference to the Constitution, as he has launched attacks on the press, on mosques, and on other institutions explicitly protected by the Bill of Rights. Or consider Trump’s private meeting with Republican members of Congress, when the candidate expressed his admiration for Article 12 of the Constitution, apparently unaware that there are only seven Articles. “He was just listing out numbers,” said Congressman Blake Farenthold, a Trump supporter. “I think he was confusing Articles and Amendments.”
This isn’t just a technicality: The presidential oath of office demands that the president “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
How can he protect something that he doesn’t seem to grasp, and whose underlying philosophy he seems outright hostile to? In the interest of judging Trump’s competence to follow through on the oath of office if he does become president, here’s a short guide to the Constitution and where Trump collides with it.Read the rest of this op-ed HERE.
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