News & Politics

'TREASON?': Trump Nonsensically Lashes Out at Anonymous Op-Ed Writer and Shows He Knows Nothing About the Law

It's astounding how little he knows about the laws he's supposed to enforce.

Photo Credit: Michael Candelori

In the fallout from a scathing New York Times op-ed from a senior administration official warning about the dangers of his presidency, President Donald Trump lashed out and inadvertently confirmed exactly what the writer claimed about his state of mind.

Initially, Trump responded to the op-ed at a White House event, calling it "gutless" in a lie-filled rant. But later on Twitter, he let loose.

"TREASON?" he tweeted, with absolutely no context — though observers assumed he was writing about the op-ed.

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Of course, if he believes the op-ed is treasonous, it shows that he knows nothing about the laws that he's supposed to enforce. Treason is a very particular crime in American law, mostly related to wartime matters — nothing in the op-ed comes close to meeting the definition.

In a follow-up tweet, he wrote: "Does the so-called 'Senior Administration Official' really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!"

Here, he completely disregards the robust First Amendment protections afforded to the American press, which generally prevents the government from forcing such a maneuver. He also fails to demonstrate any actual national security threat, which makes his demands look like a desperate powerplay. 

These reactions illustrate exactly what the op-ed writer warns about the president. They are impulsive, erratic, reckless, and ill-informed — hardly desirable characteristics in a president and certainly a dangerous mix.

But this underscores another point: We already knew pretty much everything that was described in the op-ed, because Trump acts this way in public. We don't need more nameless officials whispering their concerns — we need people who are actually going to do something about their concerns.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.