Trump’s repeat “birthright citizenship” babble: Dead wrong on the facts, the law and amendments

Trump’s latest scam again pushes the envelope to find new ways for this loser to lose again.

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Another scurrilous misrepresentation, another rightwing stunt to cancel an inalienable right 

In fifty years, aside from his abysmal presidency and nightmare fascist lurches, Trump will go down as crudely substituting attention-grabbing sound bites for real issues that impact real lives. The interminable, fact-free lie about Obama’s birthplace set the stage for absurdities to come: the southern wall as immigration fix, Clorox as Covid cure, the Big Lie fraud and the wild distortion of Jan. 6 as harmless protest antics. Last week’s birthright citizen charade – a right unchangeable by presidential or Congressional authority – again skewers reality with his latest, tiresome Stunt Entertainment Ploy Openly Pandering to his Slavish Base. 

What’s noteworthy is the rerun aspect, exposing both a zero learning curve and nothing new to sell but old, failed gambits, about as viable as “I alone can fix everything” fictions. Thus the con man fabricates smoke and, by playing off prejudices, fools people unable to test basic veracity. Even though the 14th Amendment (and courts since) could not be clearer, Trump puts himself above the Constitution, precedent, tradition, the American majority, and inalienable citizenship rights. Who else even dares talk up banning citizenship to the American born? Yes, insanity (and desperation) repeats the same action while expecting a different result. 

Not on Day One or Day One Thousand

Flashing warning lights inform the rational and the skeptical that off the cliff he goes again, appealing to racism, white nationalism, and the fascist notion of citizenship limited to favored, superior groups. Only lying through his teeth allows Trump to promise that he (or any president) can revoke the absolute Constitutional equation between US birth and US citizenship. Other than mockery, what response fits the most criminal candidate echoing earlier fakery that “on Day One of my new term” he’ll ban “birthright citizenship.” Not then or on the horizon.

Look, MAGA fans truant from high school: no chief executive, no Congress, and not even this Supreme Court can rewrite or veto the unerring precision of the 14th Amendment. If only naive zealots, committed to Biblical literalism, attend with equal focus to the Constitution, they’ll be forced to acknowledge that indeed “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” 

That Trump’s delusional scam duplicates what predictably failed in 2015 proves that years later he still has nothing but bluster behind his bizarro, if party-leading popularity. Here’s the mechanical toy programmed to do only one thing –if batteries hold up. Brace for another round of “build the magic wall,” or militarize the border, or endorse violence to punish immigrants, whether legal or otherwise. Hey, when you’re trashing the 14th Amendment, who cares about mere laws? Back in ‘16, his cowardice stopped him from signing a promised executive order that would have gagged courts – and so this juvenile heaves spitballs at stone walls.

No subtlety here, nor the least appeal beyond hardline Trumpers. Why does the dismal Entertainer-in-chief (and backward followers) broadcast they haven’t a clue that we have a Constitution, let alone what it says. Fact: only a full amendment procedure can alter the absolute birthright citizen guarantee (an action that would never get out of the Senate). With the same clarity, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1995 said Congress could not use legislation to restrict birthright citizenship. Must some divinity descend from wherever to confirm here is the law of the land – with massive backing since 1868? 

Conclusively, the former assistant Attorney General Walter Dellinger wrote. “There can be no question that children born in the United States of aliens are subject to the full jurisdiction of the United States,” he said. “And, as consistently recognized by courts and Attorneys General for over a century, most notably by the Supreme Court in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, there is no question that they possess constitutional citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment.” Q.E.D.

A mock politician mocking politics

That makes this scandalously dishonest promise worse even than the southern wall fiasco. The great majority of visitors who refuse to leave on time still arrive by airplane. As if anticipating the DeSantis assault against basic rights, the Blusterer-in-chief plays the demagoguery card that has failed the GOP in every election since 2018. Delusion feeds delusion. Ditto with repeat Trump’s fear-mongering lies: between five and ten thousand annual births come from non-citizens, per federal count, radically different from the “tens of thousands” Trump rails against. You decide which is more outrageous – that Trump intones the same discredited blarney, or that his suckers still buy the same crapola, exposing their nasty brew of ignorance, racist projections, tunnel-vision, and/or demented wishful thinking. 

In short, what patriotic, even modestly informed citizen backs a candidate who’s here totally wrong on the facts, on the amendment procedures, and on every relevant legal concept? Who backs a criminal candidate who exhibits no more awareness of what patriotism (law or citizenship) mean than when knowingly defying espionage laws on top secrets, GA voter fraud statures, NY campaign financial violations, or what “defamation” means after losing the mortifying Carroll rape case and defaming the winner? What this most visible elected outlaw doesn’t know about law and the Constitution – and common sense – could, goes the quip, fill volumes. 

Donald, high time to abandon your delusional immunity – that this self-entitled royal highness can get away with anything. What an egregious failure (if not epic irony) after four years as the US “top law endorsement official” who in the meantime invited culpability, indictments and convictions. One may almost conclude he wants to get caught – that some deep unconscious demands retribution for a life of cruel excesses and contempt for rules. 

Like blind mice in a maze, the least talented politicians, sans imagination or depth, do what they’ve tried before, even after failure. The early anti-immigrant hostility does not explain his 2016 victory, but Trump appears to believe it, back to demonizing those whose potential offspring will now overwhelmingly vote for the other party. What recent immigrants accept a scurrilous war against legal diversity that works to corrupt the Constitution and their birthright to full voting rights? That extends way past Hispanic newcomers. Since Trump has never cultivated actual real-world policies or deliverables to get elected, lying about banning birthright citizenship is the latest, revealing default political pitch destined to fail. That’s why nearly all losing presidential campaigners never get renominated. Trump’s scam, and need for attention, is pushing the envelope to find new ways for this loser to lose again. Despite the anomaly of 2016, it’s always been his mode of entry. 

FALL FUNDRAISER

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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.

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