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Can Anything Be Done to Rein In the President’s Speech?

The AtlanticTrump’s words are dangerous, and society must find ways big and small to push back. August 2, 2020 Kate Shaw Professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. “This president doesn’t speak like other presidents, that much is clear. Since taking office in January 2017, President Donald Trump has used the bully pulpit in ways that break, often dramatically, from the rhetorical norms that preceded him. The president seemed to cross a new red line this week, as he took to Twitter to suggest—without legal foundation—postponing the November election. This latest rhetorical escalation has increased the urgency of a long-simmering question: Can anything be done to rein in the speech of a president unmoored from reality and unmoved by decency? The answer is yes, and it hinges on understanding both the nature of presidential speech, and that speech’s dependence on a variety of mechanisms for actually reaching the public. Of course, how a president speaks isn’t fixed; for more than a century, presidents have used evolving channels and styles of communication to speak to the nation, to shape public opinion, and to rally support for their positions. And however they choose to reach the public, presidents do not go it alone; they rely on intermediaries, who are crucial to the amplification of presidential messages…”

See also Washington Post – Impeachment may not work. Here’s the next best way to dump Trump. “But there is a way of dispensing some justice, even just the first dose: The long-forgotten Section Three of the 14th Amendment bars from occupying public office anyone who takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and subsequently participates in or gives “aid or comfort” to rebellion or insurrection. The amendment gives Congress the power of enforcement. (The House impeachment article contains an allusion to this provision.) Congress can use this authority to prohibit anyone who on Jan. 6 violated an oath in this way, up to and including the president, from ever again serving in a government post, local, state, or national…”

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