There is a very good reason legal scholars aren’t exactly sure if Trump can actually pardon himself – an idea that was, until last week, grossly laughable, but now, given how we live full time in the Upside Down, has been floated as a serious possibility in this fine year of our Trumpian apocalypse, 2017.
It’s because it’s never even been considered before. It’s because the idea is so preposterous, so inane, so childish in its thinking and so counter to all human dignity and political integrity – AKA so very Trumpian – the framers of the Constitution didn’t even imagine it, much less see fit to say, “Wait wait wait, what if we get some authoritarian-minded cretin who’s so flagrantly corrupt, so tiny of mind and so shamelessly power-mad, he actually claims ‘complete power’ to pardon, and tries to, I dunno, pardon himself and every member of his oleaginous family, from all the crimes they hath so obviously committed?”
To which the other gentlemen around the table surely chortled, “Oh, you fool, that would require an ogre of unimaginable proportions, not to mention the full collusion of a nefarious right-wing Congress that would do absolutely nothing to stop him, and would actually encourage such ignoble behavior and savage misprision, all in the name of power and the intentional rape of the noble American experiment. Why, that could verily invite a constitutional crisis! By jove, it could never happen.”
And lo, here we are. Experts have been queried. Legal scholars have been asked. They are all befuddled and unsure and most can’t really believe they have to answer this sort of thing at all. But that’s just the nature of Trump’s America: Every day you think it can’t get more absurd, insulting, acidic and hurtful? Somehow, it does.
One thing seems true: Constitutional law, we are told, is insufficient to take Trump down, all by itself. He ignores the law completely, believes himself and his family to be above it. And why not? After all, the law is only so good as those willing to enforce it, and every Republican in Congress has sold his soul to the devil for a handful of magic beans made of sawdust and death.
We now await Trump’s shrugging, dumb-guy declaration that he’s the most powerful human who ever lived, is totally omnipotent, will probably live forever, can singlehandedly order the death of anyone he wishes and will hereby declare Pizza Hut to be the national food, Fox & Friends the sole arbiter of “truth” and Ivanka’s face carved into Mount Rushmore, replacing Lincoln – a man who, he might say, “liked black people a little too much.” Who’s going to stop him?