As Donald Trump was approaching his one-year anniversary as POTUS, a terrorist drove a rental pickup truck into a group of cyclists and runners in New York City, killing eight and injuring eleven. In a statement to the press prior to a cabinet meeting held following the attack, Trump shared his thoughts on how he would like to see justice for such attacks doled out much quicker, calling the current system of justice a “joke” and a “laughing stock.”
Trump lashes out at US federal justice system as "joke" and "laughing stock." pic.twitter.com/Aa5vJumWvd
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 1, 2017
“We have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. They’ll go through court for years. At the end, they’ll be – who knows what happens. We need quick justice, and we need strong justice. Much quicker and much stronger than we have right now, because what we have right now is a joke, and it’s a laughing stock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.”
When Trump made this statement, I was struck at the time at the similarities he had with comic book and movie character Judge Joseph Dredd. As you may recall, Dredd lives in a fictional future where law enforcement has evolved into a system where a single person possessed the power to arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals.
As a work of fiction, the story of Judge Dredd has come to represent the idea of a police-state society where authoritarianism has replaced the rule of law. However, as a work of fact, the story of Donald J. Trump has come to represent the reality of a police-state society operating under his authoritarian reign
Though he’s always been motivated by his Orwellian personality, Trump has become Big Brother personified since his acquittal on two articles of impeachment by the GOP-controlled Senate. With no meaningful checks and balances on his actions any longer, he has been freed to use his unlimited power as he shreds the Constitution and the restrictions it places on him.
Even when he “follows” the Constitution, he only does so in a way that benefits him the most. For example, his recent politicization of the Constitution’s pardon power where he pardoned or commuted the sentences of eleven people who were either contributors to his 2020 campaign or friends of FOX News.
After declaring it his “absolute right,” Trump made the unprecedented move of intervening in the sentencing of his friend and ally Roger Stone. Stone had been convicted in federal court last year on five counts of lying to Congress, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction of a proceeding, and prosecutors were recommending he be sentenced to seven-to-nine years in prison.
But Trump complained that the sentence was too harsh, so the DOJ overrode its own prosecutors, prompting the four attorneys working on the case to withdraw — one of whom also resigned.
Facing heat for his interference, and with calls for Attorney General Barr to resign for allowing Trump to run the DOJ, Trump declared on Tuesday he has nothing to do with how Barr conducts his affairs; not because he’s not allowed to tell Barr what to do, but because he chooses not to. He then stated he could be tell the DOJ what to do because he’s “the chief law enforcement officer of the country.”
With help from the GOP, Trump’s Judge Dredd persona is on full display, moving America ever closer to becoming a one-party authoritarian state. And according to experts, we’re running out of time to stop them.
From the day he launched his campaign in 2015, to his impeachment, Trump has solidified his reputation as someone who has little regard for the Constitution and the rule of law. But that’s because in Trump’s mind, he’s Judge Dredd and . . .
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative.