Trump is a ‘secessionist’ who views the US as ‘2 countries with 2 sets of laws’: conservative journalist
“Loyal opposition” is a term that was used a great deal in U.S. politics in the past — for example, it was used to describe the cordial relationship that Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill enjoyed during the 1980s despite their major policy differences. But it’s a term that one never hears from President Donald Trump, who doesn’t view former Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as his loyal opposition — which is how Reagan and O’Neill viewed one another — but as enemies of the America that he represents. Conservative Never Trump journalist David Frum, in an article for The Atlantic, stresses that Trump’s disdain for Democrats goes way beyond policy differences and shows a “secessionist” mindset — and that he is sending out a dangerous message that his America and a Democratic America cannot peacefully coexist.
Frum explains, “Trump has lately invoked Abraham Lincoln with some frequency…. But Trump’s core idea is exactly the opposite of Lincoln’s. Lincoln insisted, in the throes of civil war, that he was the president of the whole United States, and all of its people — even those in armed rebellion against his authority. Trump is a secessionist from the top.”
According to the “loyal opposition” concept, Republicans and Democrats can have vehement policy differences while realizing that they are part of the same team. President Barack Obama used the concept a lot when he stressed that the U.S. is not a collection of red states and blue states, but the United States. And Democrats embraced the concept during their recent 2020 Democratic National Convention when they featured conservative Republicans or ex-Republicans who included former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman.
Frum never actually uses the term “loyal opposition” in his article, but he is saying, in essence, that the concept doesn’t exist in Trump’s world.
“Trump regards himself as a wartime president of Red America against Blue America,” Frum argues. “That’s how he can describe riot and disorder as happening in ‘Biden’s America,’ even when it happens under his presidency. In his mind, the majority of the country is already ‘Biden’s America,’ even before Biden enters office — and the remainder of it will continue to be ‘Trump’s America,’ even should Trump leave office.”
Trump, Frum adds, believes that “since we are two countries, we can have two sets of laws and rules: one for friends, another for enemies.” And according to Frum, Trump made that view abundantly clear during his divisive acceptance speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention on Thursday night, August 27.
“Two countries, two classes of citizen, two systems of law — that was the message Trump so masterfully communicated with his abuse of the White House Thursday night, advertised by huge digital screens that blared his campaign logo, self-applauded by the big fireworks show that Trump-branded the Washington Monument,” Frum writes. “And that’s the question on the ballot this November, too: is the law a set of obligations and rights binding for all, or a tool of power for the benefit of some?”