- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Normally military coups are instigated by the right, but a senior fellow with the left-wing Foreign Policy Institute is arguing that an overthrow of the U.S. government might be necessary if Republican nominee Donald Trump is elected president.

What’s more, the op-ed by James Kirchick ran Tuesday in a major U.S. newspaper, the Los Angeles Times.

“Trump is not only patently unfit to be president, but a danger to America and the world,” Mr. Kirchick wrote in the op-ed. “If Trump wins, a coup isn’t impossible here in the U.S.”

“Voters must stop him before the military has to,” he concluded.

The op-ed drew nearly 300 comments in less than 24 hours, mainly from readers who condemned his article as “irresponsible” and “reprehensible.”

“It’s a well known fact that the LA Times is an ultra liberal newspaper. What they have done with this op-ed piece goes far beyond their obvious bias,” said one commenter.

Said another, “Is this a joke? Sounds like [it’s] written by some nut job. I have no intention of voting for Trump but the LA Times should know better [than] to publish this crap.”

Mr. Kirchick has a lengthy journalism resume: His biography identifies him as a former New Republic staffer and current Daily Beast correspondent who also writes columns for the New York Daily News and Haaretz, Israel’s oldest newspaper.

He is also a former Hoover Institution Media Fellow and Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow, and past winner of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association Journalist of the Year award.

In the op-ed, Mr. Kirchick argued that the military might be forced to act if Mr. Trump were to command troops to do something “stupid, illegal or irrational.”

“Faced with opposition from his military brass, Trump would perhaps reconsider and back down. But what if he didn’t?” Mr. Kirchick asked.

“In that case, our military men and women, who swear to uphold the Constitution and a civilian chain of command, would be forced to choose between obeying the law and serving the wishes of someone who has explicitly expressed his utter lack of respect for it,” he said. “They might well choose the former.”

Under the Constitution, presidents may be impeached by the House and then removed from office if convicted by the Senate.

Two U.S. presidents have been impeached — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999 — but both were acquitted by the Senate.

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