The Queen of Bad Takes Is Back With Incredible Attack on Trump for Invoking the Fifth Amendment

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Every so often, we must turn away from the political events of the moment and talk specifically about some of the pundits out there who go above and beyond the call of duty. Sure, everyone has a bad take. The Constitution allows for all of us to have a bad take and even more than one! But, sometimes, there is a take that is so pure in how awful it is that we must stop and recognize the pundit for their dedication to the craft of awful punditry.

It is with this in mind that I wish to recognize Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post columnist and Queen of the Bad Takes, for going reaching for the brass ring.

In a piece titled “Taking the Fifth should disqualify a politician from taking office,” Rubin has beautifully perfected her craft. We have taken note of Rubin’s ability to absolutely embarrass herself before when even outlets like POLITICO have to point out how ridiculous she is, but this particular take is just a stellar example of just how broken she is.

Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 400 times in New York’s investigation into his business’s finances. Of course, the defeated former president and alleged mishandler of classified material has every right to avoid self-incrimination, but that doesn’t mean he’s protected from adverse judgment, either from the jury in this civil suit or from voters.

What a stellar opening. She actually says “This is all perfectly legal, but I think he should be punished for the very act of invoking his rights.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a take that undermines your own argument while advancing it further in the same two sentences.

Trump North Carolina
AP Photo/Chris Seward

She continues to undermine herself while calling for Trump to be punished for invoking the Fifth Amendment further down (in between the last quote and here, she heavily quotes progressive law philosopher Lawrence Tribe, who has been known to say some pretty wild things himself). It’s an entire column dedicated to the absolutely insane idea that you wanting to exercise your rights should be held against you forever.

True, the Constitution spells out no disqualifications for federal office, other than conviction through impeachment and Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars a person from office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” But voters certainly should consider the underlying conflict when a candidate for office takes the Fifth, especially when the issue goes to the core of our democracy.

Defenders might insist that Trump has not been convicted of any crime. But voters are allowed to draw their own conclusions about not only his underlying conduct but also his refusal to testify. As Norman Eisen, who served as co-counsel for the House Judiciary Committee during Trump’s first impeachment hearings, puts it, there is a “bond” between an official and the people of the nation, which is “created by election or appointment and also cemented by the oath of office.” Just as a civil jury can draw an adverse conclusion from Trump’s refusal to answer questions, “it should be disqualifying for Trump if he seeks to run again.”

Admittedly, it’s not an unheard of idea. Democrats have been pushing back against free speech, free exercise of religion, and gun ownership for years. The most maligned right is the Fifth Amendment’s right to not incriminate yourself – it’s not an admission of guilt. Oftentimes, it’s to keep prosecutors/the government from being able to use your words or actions against you in order to find more charges to press. It’s a level of protection.

Trump feels the government is out to get him, so of course, he’s not going to give them more ammo. But that’s disqualifying to the Rubins of the world, who want nothing short of Trump openly admitting to committing countless crimes and attempting to overthrow the government and install himself Supreme Dictator Forever.

Raise a glass in honor of Rubin, who has done so much to advance Bad Punditry, and has greatly exceeded all of our expectations.

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