Opinion

Trump Just Told Republican Lawmakers to Ignore the Constitution

President Donald Trump is continuing to push his tough stance on illegal immigration and desire to build a wall on the southern border. In a Monday morning tweet, he encouraged Republicans in the U.S. Senate to get on board, without wasting time worrying about how laws are supposed to work in this country.

“Republican Senators have a very easy vote this week. It is about Border Security and the Wall (stopping Crime, Drugs etc.), not Constitutionality and Precedent.”

Yes, the president of the United States–who swore to uphold the Constitution–said that lawmakers should focus on achieving his goals, and not on whether doing so would be legal. “Constitutionality and Precedent” (which would be a hilariously trollish title for Trump’s next book) aren’t important, POTUS said. Of course, those are exactly the things that courts look to when determining whether or not to block legislation.

Border security is an important issue. A physical barrier is something that politicians on both sides of the aisle have supported for years. That doesn’t mean that we can ignore the foundation of our legal system in order to accomplish these goals.

With this tweet, Trump is basically writing his opponents’ lawsuit for them. Any action taken–even if it turns out to be on the level–will now be met with claims of unconstitutionality, and you can expect this tweet to be highlighted as evidence.

Now, I don’t think Trump’s goal here is really to instruct Republicans to tear up the Constitution. What I do think he’s doing is preparing for when Democrats use the Constitution to try to block his efforts. He’s preemptively telling his base to ignore such claims. It’s hard to say which is worse.

I don’t mind him hammering home the significance of security or being tough on crime. Dismissing the importance of the Constitution and how the American legal system functions is another story.

Ronn Blitzer is the Senior Legal Editor of Law&Crime and a former New York City prosecutor. Follow him on Twitter @RonnBlitzer.

[Image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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