President Donald Trump told voters he -- and only he -- could reform what he saw as a broken system of government, and the Los Angeles Times editorial board warned in a scorching editorial that he had tried to set himself up as an authoritarian.
The newspaper lambasted Trump and his authoritarian tendencies in the third editorial in a series.
"Trump has no experience in politics; he’s never previously run for office or held a government position," the editorial board wrote. "So perhaps he was unaware that one of the hallmarks of the American system of government is that the president’s power to 'fix' things unilaterally is constrained by an array of strong institutions — including the courts, the media, the permanent federal bureaucracy and Congress. Combined, they provide an essential defense against an imperial presidency."
The Times was alarmed by the president's attack on the judicial system and the integrity of individual judges, and the editorial board called out the president for blaming jurists for future terrorist attacks.
Trump has also attacked the electoral process, intelligence and other federal agencies, and the media -- which the Times identified as part of a broader effort by conservatives to undermine those institutions.
"What’s uniquely threatening about Trump’s approach, though, is how many fronts he’s opened in this struggle for power and the vehemence with which he seeks to undermine the institutions that don’t go along," the editorial board wrote.
The newspaper warned that Trump was trying to erode public confidence in the institutions that stand in his way.
"Trump betrays no sense for the president’s place among the myriad of institutions in the continuum of governance," the editorial board wrote. "He seems willing to violate long-established political norms without a second thought, and he cavalierly rejects the civility and deference that allow the system to run smoothly. He sees himself as not merely a force for change, but as a wrecking ball."