Criticism of Donald Trump has roared from the blocks like Usain Bolt and those who voted for him and even traditional Republicans hopeful for conservative policies to be implemented at whosever behest have taken umbrage en masse to what they perceive as contempt prior to investigation. They urge detractors lay off, take a breath or as is most said and written in my anecdotal experience of observing this backlash, to give Trump a “fair trial.”
What does that mean though? With the stakes as high as they are in the case of any presidency, is it wise to abandon any of the checks and balances that are in place? Whether they are rules of governance or simply the benefits of living in a free and functioning democracy, shouldn’t citizens feel at liberty to exercise every available means of exchange without its validity being challenged over some imagined buffer the president-elect is supposedly entitled to?
Presidential assessment and treatment by the public, the press and colleagues develops as a result of sequential events, each of which are stamped with a decision that reflects a presidential tendency, and that in turn will play its part in the full measure of a president's time in office. The case can be made that this early in the process, those tendencies are still taking shape. One could also very credibly say that the office itself has a way of making the president. But let’s not be naïve. These cabinet picks are with a few exceptions conspicuously antagonistic and craven, and there is no starry-eyed circumspection going on in the Trump camp. It is game on. The opposition can’t afford to rest and it shouldn’t be expected to.
What is a “fair trial,” then? Is it kind of like a Mulligan in golf? And how many does Trump hypothetically get? If it’s three gaffes and then he has to start behaving, I am going to say number one was impugning the credibility of the CIA and the FBI, number two was kicking off a possible trade war with China, and number three was kicking off a possible Russian nuclear arms race. Is the “fair trial” a matter of degree rather than quantity? Or is it a use-by date? Perhaps the request is that the opposition to Trump defer for the most part until January 20th. All this, of course, is absurd.
There should be no limiting spigot on the criticism that will and ought to come Trump’s way. It’s fair and it’s how we do things here. Of course one should ideally debate from an informed and calm perspective (physician, heal thyself), but there is no reason to silence objections with regard to Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump supporters who still insist that the squawking from the left is uncalled for and that Trump deserves a “fair trial” can take heart in the very real possibility that he may indeed have one at his impeachment.