Home/Daniel Larison/The President Doth Protest Too Much

The President Doth Protest Too Much

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The president sent an unhinged letter to the Speaker of the House today to complain about his impending impeachment. The letter is an embarrassing display of insecurity, whining, and ignorance, and it serves only to underscore how unfit for the presidency Trump has always been. He stands accused of abuse of power, so like a petulant child he accuses everyone else of abusing their power.

The president condemns the House for impeaching him, which is to be expected, but his complaints are so excessive and ridiculous that it is fair to say that the president doth protest too much. He faults the House for its “unprecedented” action when the House has twice before impeached presidents and was very close to doing so on a third occasion before this. He whines that the House’s constitutional remedy for presidential wrongdoing is “unconstitutional.” When Trump declares something to be “unconstitutional,” he just means that it is something he doesn’t like. Impeachment is built into the Constitution, and it is there for occasions just such as these. His letter displays the same contempt for Congress that led him to refuse to cooperate with the House’s investigation.

Trump has never really been held accountable for any of his sketchy, self-serving dealing for his entire life. This may be the first time that he has actually had to answer for what he has done. He is naturally unused to facing consequences for his actions, and so his instinct has been to lash out wildly. The president refuses to take any responsibility, he plays the victim, and moans endlessly about how unfair it is that another branch of government is trying to put his abuse of power in check. The letter is a six-page distillation of the last three years of his Twitter feed in all of its raving lunacy. Trump has put his thoughts “on a permanent and indelible record,” and that record condemns him as a fraud and an oathbreaker.

The letter is a pitiful outburst from a disgraced president, and the president’s sheer shamelessness is proof that he will continue abusing the powers of his office for as long as he has them. Trump does not understand or respect the law, and he has shown again and again that he refuses to be bound by it. If honest members of the House still had any doubts about the necessity of impeachment, this deranged letter should put them to rest.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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