News & Politics

Never Trumpers Are Losing It: Steve Schmidt Says Trump Is an 'Emperor'

Twitter screenshot of Steve Schmidt on MSNBC.

Trump derangement syndrome has wreaked havoc on many liberals, but it seems a particularly noxious affliction for conservatives — or should I say former conservatives? Steve Schmidt, for instance, swore off the Republican Party for the TDS freakout of the day back in 2018. Before Trump, Schmidt served as a communications strategist for the campaigns of former President George W. Bush, Gov. Arnold Swarzenegger (R-Calif.), and John McCain’s presidential bid. After Trump, he’s a babbling fool who can’t distinguish between President Donald Trump and an emperor or a king.

If Trump is acquitted by the Senate — as expected — he will be “above the law” and therefore an absolute monarch, or something.

“So the American people, with the oldest constitutional republic in the world, will have to decide: Do we want to have at the head of our country a president, or do we want to have a king? Do we want to have an emperor? Do we want to have somebody who sits above the law?”

Schmidt insisted that America’s institutions, “from the beginning of the country, have said that no institution, no person in the country, is above the law. That’s what we fought a revolution for.”

“The aftermath of this, when he is acquitted, there will never, ever have been an American president with the power that Donald Trump possesses right now in this moment. Not FDR in the Second World War. Not Lincoln in the Civil War,” the Never Trumper blathered. “No president is as powerful as Donald John Trump in this hour.”

Yes, he insisted — with a straight face — that Trump is more powerful now than Lincoln, the president who suspended Habeas Corpus in Maryland during the Civil War. He said Trump is more powerful than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who infamously forced millions of Japanese-Americans into internment camps. He said Trump is more powerful than Woodrow Wilson, who launched War Socialism during World War I — complete with government direction of the economy and a department of propaganda.

Schmidt declared that Trump on the eve of acquittal is more similar to emperors like The Divine Caesar Augustus than other presidents like Bill Clinton or George W. Bush. (Yes, Augustus claimed to be a god and was worshiped as such.)

Even if you believe that Trump did what the Democrats claim, and even if you think it is a serious scandal, this is asinine nonsense. Trump is president — limited in his term to eight years maximum; checked by Congress and the Supreme Court; subject to the will of the people in the 2020 election. Nearly half of the country hates him. He is no king; he is no emperor.

Steve Schmidt has to know this, but he is trying to make impeachment seem far nobler than it is. Democrats launched a shamefully partisan effort, based on a murky case, rushed and then delayed, and predicated on a “whistleblower” who still remains nameless. The Senate is right to acquit Trump.

Never Trumpers like Schmidt are trying to do the impossible — they are trying to carry water for Democrats’ shameless abuse of Congress’s impeachment power, and still claiming to be conservative. No wonder they’re losing it.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.