- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 23, 2020

For all you hopeless haters out there, this one’s for you.

One minute, you hate President Trump because he is an unbridled dictator trammeling the rights of innocent American citizens, especially illegal aliens who are citizens of other countries. He is using the current Wuhan crisis to finally make good on all his secret promises to hand the United States over to Vladimir Putin. Whatever.

The next minute, you hate Mr. Trump because he is asleep at the switch having completely failed to take the deadly virus seriously until it became a full-blown pandemic, particularly threatening to America’s prison population.

In other words, you are political Goldilockses who hate Mr. Trump no matter what he does.

To be fair, Mr. Trump offers plenty of ammunition in his own words to arm your arguments whichever fever has presently seized you.



“I’m going to put it very simply,” Mr. Trump mansplained to reporters last week.

“The president of the United States has the authority to do what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful. The president of the United States calls the shots. When somebody’s the president of the U.S., the authority is total and that’s the way it’s gotta be,” the president of the United States said.

Cue the freak-out.

Even though Article II, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that the president “shall hath all vested powers to call the shots, which is very powerful.” Section 6 of Article II goes even further to explain that this executive authority is “total,” “shall be bigly,” and — simply — “the way it’s gotta be,” according to the Founding Fathers.

But just last month, Mr. Trump was busy feeding different fevers.

He sent the press beagles into flea-scratching yowling and hysterics when he suggested that it was actually the governors out there who have the best authority for dealing with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus now that it had arrived in their own states (from China).

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” Mr. Trump reportedly told governors during a conference call. Oh, if only the Founders had envisioned the modern conference call when they devised federalism!

These remarks, of course, were immediately translated by rabid, quarantined political reporters to mean that Mr. Trump was telling governors and their disgusting citizens to drop dead.

After all, he basically was telling them to go home and use their automobile tailpipes as ventilators. Or respirators. You won’t feel a thing, he pretty much told them. Except, of course, he didn’t use those exact words. Or, any of them, actually. Or anything remotely related to any of them.

In fact, the next words out of Mr. Trump’s mouth were pretty much ignored in all the stories of how he had told America to please go die.

“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves,” he said of the respirators and ventilators. “Point of sales — much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”

In other words, Mr. Trump encouraged governors that they and their powers are best suited to be on the front lines battling a public health crisis such as this. Precisely as the Founders envisioned.

All of which brings us to this week’s “Moment of Gratitude.”

Nothing is more vital during endless quarantine than taking a moment every day to add up all the blessings around us that offset the considerable misery and hardship. This little exercise does not make the hardships go away nor does it erase the misery, but it puts everything into perspective.

One of those blessings these days is happening over at the Department of Justice.

Every day, it seems, we learn more and more how constitutionally unhinged the previous administration’s Department of Justice had become. At the highest levels of the most powerful domestic agency in the country, government operatives were falsifying evidence, lying under oath to judges and using secret powers to investigate, torment and destroy political enemies.

This is all totally astonishing and the only people who are not shocked by it are the boiling frogs.

Today, however, that very same department is helmed by Attorney General William Barr, the greatest attorney general since Edmund Jennings Randolph, with the possible exception of William Wirt.

While Mr. Trump gives political answers to political questions, Mr. Barr never strays from his lane of strict legal constitutionality.

In a wide-ranging interview this week with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Mr. Barr defended the actions of governors and the president in responding to the initial CCP virus with executive alacrity. But he also warned that as an ongoing matter — as the immediacy of the crisis fades — the clear constitutional rights of individual citizens return to urgent supremacy.

Present shutdowns, he warned, come perilously close to “house arrest.” This, of course, caused the flea-bitten press beagles back to their hide-scratching, eye-rolling madness.

And at the notion the federal government’s attorney general would dare challenge governors’ authority to arrest innocent citizens in their own homes, Democrats mounted the barricades of “states’ rights!”

I am not kidding. Turn on the TV. They are actually talking about it on air. Publicly. They are not even wearing hoods. (Not even the governor of Virginia.)

Which is pretty comical, considering how much Democrats today claim to be sensitive to the ways in which “states’ rights” arguments have been twisted into ugly weapons throughout American history.

But, then again, it was the very same Democrats who were twisting those arguments back then.

Just ask Democrat George Wallace. Or Democrat Robert C. Byrd.

• Charles Hurt is opinion editor of The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] or @charleshurt on Twitter.

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