During a 60 Minutes interview tonight, Speaker Paul Ryan vouched for President-elect Trump’s understanding of the Constitution. The Hill reports on Scott Pelley’s interview with the Speaker.
“I think he understands there’s a Constitution. And that those separate but equal branches of government give us a limited government. And he believes that,” Ryan said.
“I think he understands there’s a Constitution.” That’s not exactly a comforting choice of words for beginning a statement that shouldn’t even need to be made about someone who America just elected as its next President.
Ryan firmed up his initially wishy-washy answer though.
“We’ve talked about — the Constitution, Article I on the Constitution, the separation of powers. He feels very strongly, actually, that– that, under President Obama’s watch, he stripped a lot of power away from the Constitution, away from the Legislative Branch of government. And we want to reset the balance of power, so that people and the Constitution are rightfully restored.”
There are two things troubling about this.
First, they’re discussing a man who only months ago demonstrated little to no understanding of the Constitution. Trump wanted to nominate Supreme Court Justices who would investigate Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. He told Republicans that he admired articles in the Constitution that don’t even exist. Only days ago he suggested revoking the citizenship of people exercising their 1st Amendment rights. Paul Ryan would have us believe that Donald Trump is now up to speed on our founding document. We shall see.
The second troubling thing is 60 Minutes would never dare ask a question like this of a Democrat President-elect. They wouldn’t ask it of Democrat candidate. The media that—rightfully, I’ll grant—questions Donald Trump’s Constitutional competency routinely portrayed Barack Obama as a “Constitutional scholar” despite his never having published a single piece of scholarship on the Constitution. Democrats and their failures to grasp concepts in the Constitution are always given a pass.
One of the good things about having even a bad Republican President is that the press will at least attempt to hold him accountable.