Trump is sabotaging the presidency from within — exactly what Alexander Hamilton ‘darkly envisioned’: Harvard Law professor
Several of US President Donald Trump's immigration policies hvae been blocked in court (AFP Photo/Olivier Douliery)

President Donald Trump is best understood as an "anti-president" who corrupts all his office stands for, wrote Harvard Law professor and constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe in Newsweek.


"We have learned that Trump is so obsessed with the legitimacy of his 2016 election — and so terrified of becoming a private citizen (subject to indictment and imprisonment) after the 2020 election — that he embraces a conspiratorial myth of Ukrainian responsibility for Russian lawlessness hatched by an oligarch in Vladimir Putin's orbit," wrote Tribe. "We have heard an official's first-hand account of a president so beholden to Putin that he blithely dismisses Russia's aggression as not 'big stuff' compared with a public announcement by Ukraine's new president to the effect that, contrary to fact, its government is investigating (nonexistent) corruption by Trump's political rival."

"There will be time, once the House Intelligence Committee concludes its public hearings and transmits its report to the Judiciary Committee, to determine how best to wrap the indisputable abuses of power, betrayals of the nation and corruption of the presidential office into appropriately labeled articles of impeachment," wrote Tribe. "What must not get lost in the process of categorizing and naming this man's grotesque betrayals of his oath, however, is how shamelessly he has exposed himself as not merely 'unpresidential' — the moniker he has proudly embraced more than once — but as anti-presidential."

"More than unpresidential, Trump represents the perfect exemplar of what Alexander Hamilton darkly envisioned when he described the danger that a demagogue might one day assume the presidency and require removal through the awesome power of impeachment," wrote Tribe. "Such a demagogue, Hamilton prophesied, would be 'a man unprincipled in private life[,] desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper...despotic in his ordinary demeanour.' Such a man, Hamilton wrote, would one day 'mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day' with the object of 'throw[ing] things into confusion that he may 'ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.'' Such a man, we should all be able to see now, is Donald J. Trump."

"There is no guarantee that he will ever be held to account for his depredations," Tribe concluded. "But labeling him as the anti-president that he most assuredly is represents a start toward that goal."

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