Without a doubt, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of things that terrify me about Donald Trump. However, something he said during the second presidential debate should terrify all Americans: The moment when he said, if elected, he’d appoint a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton.
Yeah, that’s a political tactic taken straight out of the “Authoritarian Dictator Handbook.”
With that one comment he admitted that he would be more than willing to try to abuse his power as president to target political rivals — or basically anyone he wants to go after. That’s exactly what dictators do when they come into power — they go after rivals and try to silence critics.
This was unprecedented for anyone running for president to say.
First, the role of the president isn’t to appoint people to legally go after specific people who he clearly already thinks are guilty. That’s not how our Constitution works. You can’t stand there on a stage and say that you’re going to appoint people to investigate someone — presumably based upon the Constitutional premise of “innocent until proven guilty” — then say that you believe that person is guilty and should be in jail.
But this goes well beyond just rhetoric against Clinton. While she was his target on Sunday night, Trump has repeatedly proven that he goes after and attacks people who are critical of him or who he views as rivals.
Where would he stop?
What if he felt a newspaper reported on something against him he felt was “illegal,” would he order government officials to go after that publication? Would he target reporters? What about any sort of threat or rival he senses to his agenda? Would it be out of the realm of possibly for him to try to abuse his power to go after a potential opponent if he were to run for re-election in 2020?
As Americans, both on the left and the right, we should all cringe any time someone seeking a position of power such as the President of the United States so brazenly talks about their predetermined belief that someone has done something illegal and that they’re willing to use their power to go after anyone who they think is guilty.
You don’t need to be a Constitutional scholar to know that’s not how our judicial system works.
In the United States we’ve built our judicial system on the premise of “innocent until proven guilty” and that everyone has the right to a fair and speedy trial. None of which include the President of the United States openly saying they believe someone is guilty, then admitting that they’re going to appoint people to go after that person.
Again, that’s how dictators work — not a Constitutionally elected president in our Republic.
While I’m sure his supporters won’t care that he said this — because it feeds right into their conspiracy-driven hated of Hillary Clinton — for the first time in U.S. history we saw a presidential candidate for a major political party admit that, if elected, he’s more than willing to use his power to go after political rivals, critics and people he thinks are guilty.
In other words, Donald Trump fully embraced the fact that he’s running to be our country’s first dictator.
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