Obama and Bush Were the Autocrats, Not Trump

The supposed autocrat, President Donald J. Trump, relentlessly has followed the law in seeking to gain approval for his executive order placing a temporary travel moratorium on seven countries (five of which happen to be majority-Muslim states).

Some autocrat!

Because of tweets the president issued about the moratorium (and a few statements Trump made during the contentious 2016 presidential campaign), the American Left believed that they had legal grounds to get the executive order overturned. Despite the fact that the actual executive order showed no bigoted animus toward Muslims (or any other minority), that did not stop the Left from claiming that the intention of the law was one founded in bigotry. The Left wanted the Supreme Court to adjudicate what was in Trump’s heart rather than what was written in the legal documents calling for the travel moratorium.

The Trump Administration argued that the travel moratorium was limited, temporary, and was enacted according to national security threats. Further, the White House claimed that the Constitution gave the executive branch sweeping authority to do that which it believed necessary to preserve and protect the republic from all threats.

We can be thankful the Supreme Court doesn’t (yet) believe that they can discern and pass a ruling upon the (imputed) thoughts and/or feelings of an individual—even those of “this” president. Based solely on the legal documents before them, the Supreme Court affirmed the White House’s case that the moratorium did not violate the Constitution.

That didn’t stop the Left from ripping Trump (and the Supreme Court) over the decision. The Supreme Court decision, according to Leftists everywhere, confirmed America’s slide into fascism. Yet, the “anti-Fascists” dominating America’s toxic political discourse today appear to have forgotten their objections to George W. Bush-era torture policies. This is especially true, now that the “anti-Fascists” have had to reconcile their antipathy toward Bush’s authoritarian practices with Obama’s own autocratic tendencies in keeping Guantanamo Bay open for business..

The Left was similarly muted in their opposition to former President Barack Obama’s stunning executive orders allowing for the wanton bombing of nearly any Muslim-majority country in his drone campaign during the Global War on Terror. The supposed “anti-Fascists” also blindly accepted the Obama Administration’s disturbing claim that American citizens could be killed with drones, so long as those citizens were overseas (and amorphous intelligence “proved” they were, in fact, enemy combatants).

Few conscientious Leftists—the sort who now clog the already-congested roads of America’s major cities, “resisting” the “tyranny” of Trump—so much as uttered a peep when President Obama enacted a travel ban very similar to the Trump moratorium on travel from these countries. You see, it’s not fascism when they do it!

Last year, I wrote that President Trump was “bad at being a tyrant.” That’s because, no matter what Donny Deutsch says, Trump is not a tyrant! Compare the president’s handling of the travel moratorium to the similarly “controversial” national security directives imposed by the previous two presidents. Unlike both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Donald Trump respected the legal process.

At the first sign of judicial opposition, the Trump Administration wrote an entirely new travel moratorium. When that second executive order was shot down in the courts, President Trump directed his team to write a new one, with each iteration of the moratorium baking in the concerns of opponents vis-à-vis purported constitutional violations.

By the time the third version reached the Supreme Court, the underlying constitutional flaws of the original two executive orders had all been removed.

This is how the American system is supposed to work!

Fact is, the president does have broad powers to act in defense of national security. This is a result of the Constitution, but also of more than a century of the growth of executive power coupled with the abdication of legislative authority to the executive branch by a series of congresses.

And, in Trump’s defense, the seven countries his moratorium targets are countries that house potential national security threats to the United States. Further, as the Trump Administration proved to the Supreme Court, the countries targeted by the moratorium have lax immigration systems—meaning that they cannot confirm whether or not the citizens of those countries seeking entry into the United States are threats to America.

With the Supreme Court decision, the Left has been shown to be the hypocrites we on the Right have always known they were. What’s more, the Left continues longing for the Obama years (and ignoring the excesses of the Bush years) in order to delegitimize Trump’s presidency. Yet, it was Bush and Obama who behaved autocratically, not Trump.

After all, unlike Bush with his torture policies, and Obama with his endless drone campaign, Trump worked with the courts rather than against them.

But Trump, we are told, is the autocrat.

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Photo credit:  David Hume Kennerly via Bank of America/Getty Images

About Brandon J. Weichert

Brandon J. Weichert is a geopolitical analyst who manages The Weichert Report. He is a contributing editor at American Greatness and a contributor at The American Spectator . His forthcoming book, Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower is due out from Republic Book Publishers in 2020. His writings on national security have appeared in Real Clear Politics and he has been featured on the BBC and CBS News. Follow him on Twitter at @WeTheBrandon.

Photo: Getty Images

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