President Trump, ever the addict, was right back on Twitter, threatening to have the National Guard murder looters in Minneapolis. We don’t do censorship in the United States, and we don’t do summary executions, either. On Friday, another guest host for Rush Limbaugh allowed that the president’s actions were “unorthodox” or “outrageous.” We should speak plainly: These are lies and threats and abuses of the president’s position. These aren’t questions of etiquette. Republicans should stop making excuses for them or stop wrapping themselves in the mantle of patriotism — one or the other.
Republicans used to be the freedom people: free speech, free trade, free enterprise, free markets, freedom of religion, freedom of association, free to keep and bear arms. Trump and his partisans too often are the opposite of that: the neo-mercantilism people, the wildly expansive government power people, the Orbán toady people, the “total authority” people, the people who complain about abuses of presidential power on Monday and think up implausible excuses for them on Tuesday, the people who conflate corporatism with patriotism, the slanderers, the conspiracy goofs, the shut-down-Twitter-if-Twitter-doesn’t-do-what-we-want people.
Our friends on talk radio insist that we are one election away from “losing America.” If the president can shut down media he doesn’t like on a whim, then we already have lost it. All that talk of “winning” assumes a prize worth having and champions who deserve it.