“Then, I have an Article II, where I have to the right to do whatever I want as president,” Donald Trump told a crowd of teenage fans at a conservative conference last year. “But I don’t even talk about that.”
In fact, he does talk about it. A lot.
“Take a look at one other thing. It’s a thing called Article II,” Trump arglebargled to reporters on July 12, 2019. Nobody ever mentions Article II. It gives me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before. We don’t even talk about Article II.”
Unfortunately, President ConLaw is a little fuzzy on the details. Exactly what “rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before” are we not talking about? No one has ever managed to get Trump to elaborate.
Luckily, former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff Miles Taylor explained it in a Washington Post op-ed and a video he cut for Republican Voters Against Trump.
Those mysterious Article II rights? They’re magic!
NEW: Testimonial ad from Trump’s Former DHS Chief of Staff @MilesTaylorUSA, declaring his support for Joe Biden and describing Trump’s presidency as “terrifying” and “actively doing damage to our security.”
WATCH & go to https://t.co/Nz2NiSCquN for more. pic.twitter.com/iChqOdIIew
— Republican Voters Against Trump (@RVAT2020) August 17, 2020
“A lot of time the things he wanted to do not only were impossible, but in many cases were illegal,” Taylor says. “He didn’t want us to tell him it was illegal anymore because he knew that there were, and these were his words, he knew that he had ‘magical authorities.’”
And what to use his special powers for?
One morning it might be a demand to shut off congressionally appropriated funds to a foreign ally that had angered him, and that evening it might be a request to sharpen the spikes atop the border wall so they’d be more damaging to human flesh (“How much would that cost us?”). Meanwhile, Trump showed vanishingly little interest in subjects of vital national security interest, including cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and malicious foreign interference in U.S. affairs.
According to Taylor, Trump “wanted to exploit the Department of Homeland Security for his own political purposes and to fuel his own agenda.” His agenda included cutting off funds to Californians who had the temerity not to vote for him during last year’s wildfires and ordering DHS “to ‘dump’ illegal immigrants in Democratic-leaning sanctuary cities and states to overload their authorities.”
In February 2019 while congress was desperately negotiating to avoid a government shutdown, “the president demanded a DHS phone briefing to discuss the color of the wall. He was particularly interested in the merits of using spray paint and how the steel structure should be coated.”
Separating children from their parents at the border was also a particular fixation. Although it is legal to seek asylum, Trump hoped to discourage it by kidnapping children “to show those parents that they shouldn’t come to the border in the first place.”