You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Krauthammer: The guardrails can’t contain Trump


The pleasant surprise of the First 100 Days is over. The action was hectic, heated, often confused, but well within the bounds of normalcy.

Donald Trump’s character — volatile, impulsive, often self-destructive — had not changed since the campaign. But it seemed as if the guardrails of our democracy — Congress, the courts, the states, the media, the Cabinet — were keeping things within bounds.

Then came the last 10 days. The country is now caught in the internal maelstrom that is the mind of Donald Trump. We are in the realm of the id. Chaos reigns. No guardrails can hold.

Normal activity disappears. North Korea’s launch of an alarming new missile and a problematic visit from the president of Turkey (locus of our most complicated and tortured allied relationship) barely evoke notice. Nothing can escape the black hole of a three-part presidential meltdown.

— First, the firing of James Comey. Trump, consumed by the perceived threat of the Russia probe to his legitimacy, executes a mindlessly impulsive dismissal of the FBI director. He then surrounds it with a bodyguard of lies — attributing the dismissal to a Justice Department recommendation — which his staff goes out and parrots. Only to be undermined and humiliated when the boss contradicts them within 48 hours.

— Second, Trump’s divulging classified information to the Russians. A stupid, needless mistake. But despite the media hysteria, hardly an irreparable national security calamity.

Once again, however, the cover-up far exceeded the crime.

— Is it any wonder, therefore, that when the third crisis hit on Tuesday night — the Comey memo claiming that Trump tried to get him to call off the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn — Republicans hid under their beds rather than come out to defend the president? The White House hurriedly issued a statement denying the story. The statement was unsigned.

Republicans are beginning to panic. One sign is the notion now circulating that, perhaps to fend off ultimate impeachment, Trump be dumped by way of 25th Amendment.

That’s the post-Kennedy assassination measure that provides for removing an incapacitated president on the decision of the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet.

This is the worst idea since Leno at 10 p.m. It perverts the very intent of the amendment. It was meant for a stroke, not stupidity; for Alzheimer’s, not narcissism.

I thought we had progressed beyond the Tudors and the Stuarts. Moreover, this would be seen by millions as an establishment usurpation to get rid of a disruptive outsider. It would be the most destabilizing event in American political history — the gratuitous overthrow of an essential constant in American politics, namely the fixedness of the presidential term (save for high crimes and misdemeanors).

Trump’s behavior is deeply disturbing but hardly surprising. His mercurial nature is not the product of a post-inaugural adder sting at Mar-a-Lago. It’s been there all along. And the American electorate chose him nonetheless.

What to do? Strengthen the guardrails. Redouble oversight of this errant president. Follow the facts, especially the Comey memos. And let the chips fall where they may.

But no tricks, constitutional or otherwise.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Editorial: Government, business leaders must step up to avoid crisis
Editorial: Government, business leaders must step up to avoid crisis

We don’t want to see development stifled. But neither do we want to see young families struggle to buy a first home because nothing is available for under $300,000. Yet the latter is happening more and more, sending those families to Port St. Lucie to find affordable housing. That’s not what those families want. That’s not what employers...
CARTOON
CARTOON

CARTOON VIEW NICK ANDERSON
Commentary: Montana surprise shows problems with early voting
Commentary: Montana surprise shows problems with early voting

Going into Thursday’s special election in Montana to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by Ryan Zinke, now the secretary of the interior, a lot of experts said that the misdemeanor assault charges filed Wednesday against the Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, might not make much difference. They were right; Gianforte somehow held on to win....
POINT OF VIEW: Federal government needs to act; mosquito season here

As we celebrated Mother’s Day with our families recently, I could not help but think of all the moms in the U.S., and all over the world, who have been affected by Zika in the past year. As a father of six, I know that all children bring challenges. But a child born with microcephaly will present his or her parents with unique struggles. As we...
LETTERS Gutting Obamacare flouts public interest
LETTERS Gutting Obamacare flouts public interest

Gutting Obamacare flouts public interest With all due respect to his military service, Brian Mast is now a U.S. congressman and as such he is a public servant; well, the public has to know that he voted against its best interest when he voted along party lines to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. We all know it needs improvement...
More Stories