President Trump made this remark during a speech in Ohio yesterday:
“You’re up there, you’ve got half the room going totally crazy — wild, they loved everything, they want to do something great for our country,” Trump said. “And you have the other side — even on positive news, really positive news like that — they were like death. And un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, ‘treasonous.’ I mean, yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not! I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”
The First Amendment of the United States of America states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Our forefathers believed these rights were important enough to their new democracy that they placed them first on the Bill of Rights. What is happening in America when our President essentially makes a statement indicating that if you do not applaud him, you could be considered guilty of treason?
What is the punishment for treason in the United States?
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States. (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)
Today the White House spokesman said President Trump was joking. This is not something the supposed “leader of the free world” jokes about. It seems he’s fishing to see what our response will be. Who will support him in making, and possibly, enforcing this kind of outrageous accusation? If we show support, then it could solve all his problems with the Democratic party (and democracy) in one fell swoop. Freedom in America dies and another authoritarian dictator rises.
If you care about freedom in America, now is a good time to speak up.
I was pleased to learn that the Reno Gazette Journal chose to publish this piece on their Opinion page. I was also heartened to see they included footage of Republican Senator, Jeff Flake’s response to Trump’s comments. Opinion Published in Reno Gazette Journal.