Donald Trump’s supporters are fond of championing the president-elect’s commitment to “law and order.” As we know from his threats to provoke a constitutional crisis, unleash a bloodbath, support the assassination of his opponent, muzzle the press, etc, Trump’s embrace of “law and order” is highly selective. We also know that the phrase itself served Trump and his supporters as a weapon as they sought to dehumanize undocumented immigrants, ostracize American Muslims, and defame black and Latino Americans.
The irony of the term is daily becoming clearer. Mike Pence, a man who supports stripping LGBTQ Americans of their rights and subjecting them to conversion therapy to “fix” them because of their sexuality, recently outlined another area where a Trump administration will take a decidedly flexible approach to “law and order.”
Asked what a Trump administration would have to say about reinstituting the torture practiced during the Bush administration--since condemned as illegal, immoral, and counterproductive--Pence responded, “We’re going to have a president who will never say what we’ll never do.”
If you sift through the stinking pile of spin surrounding that answer--and for their candidate being a straight-talker, Trump supporters spent most of the campaign explaining why their candidate didn’t actually mean any of the things he said--it sounds like the Trump administration is willing to countenance what many Democrats and Republicans alike recognize to be an immoral, indefensible, and illegal activity.
This shouldn’t surprise us, since Trump also suggested murdering civilian non-combatants because of their family links to those suspected of terror. Trump also suggested carpet bombing cities, using the illegal and indiscriminate deployment of violence to target ISIS.
It is clear that the president- and vice president-elect are prepared to countenance committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Trump, Pence, and each one of Trump’s nominees thus far exhibit a dangerous disregard for the law, abject unwillingness to learn from recent foreign policy disasters, callousness for human life, dignity, and rights, and basic cruelty in their willingness to exploit and harm people on the basis of their race, sexuality, religion, gender, and nationality.
Because these individuals are broadcasting their desire to violate the law and inflict pain and suffering on Americans and people around the world, we have the opportunity to use all of the tools at our disposal--senate confirmation hearings, public protest, outspoken condemnation, and the courts--to put a halt to the climate of violence and fear that the Trump administration is promising to usher in to our country and the world.