Trumpunity: How Democrats Are Adopting Trump Rhetoric and Tactics For The Biden Presidency

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the adoption of Trump-like rhetoric and tactics by Democrats, who seem to believe they have a strange type of immunity in the post-Trump world.

Here is the column:

As Washington prepares for a Biden administration, congressional Democrats are discovering they cannot live without Donald Trump. In controversies ranging from federal investigations to executive orders, they are invoking Trump to justify abandoning the very principles they inveighed against him for four years. There is a sense of immunity from needing to be consistent or coherent. Call it “Trumpunity.”

Trumpunity is the right to adopt the very practices or policies you once denounced, all because you are not Trump. Even the mention of his name magically relieves any duty to follow prior positions.

So, it was no problem when incoming White House deputy chief of staff Jennifer O’Malley Dillon heralded the Biden administration as ushering in a new “sense of unity” while calling Republicans a “bunch of f—ers.” Although Dillon later apologized, figures like Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) publicly supported her vulgar attack as perfectly acceptable given Trump’s past rhetoric. There is now an open license to engage in the very same behavior as he did. AOC (who previously called for a blacklist of those “complicit” with Trump) told Republicans that, after Trump, “you don’t get to sob now” when Democrats engage in vulgar attacks.

This is, of course, little more than a juvenile “he did it first” defense. Washington has long floated on a deep rolling sea of hypocrisy, but now leaders do not even feel the need for pretense — they have Trump.

After complaining for years that Trump acted unilaterally through executive orders, Democrats now call on Joe Biden to do the same with dozens of such orders. Just a few months ago, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) denounced Trump’s unilateral COVID-19 relief orders as unconstitutional, a circumvention of Congress. Now, he wants Biden to circumvent Congress after his inauguration with such acts as wiping out up to $50,000 in debt per college student — a massive federal subsidy without any vote of Congress.

For years, Democrats and an array of legal experts denounced Trump for dismissing the Russia collusion investigation as a politically motivated hoax. They insisted on the appointment of a special counsel, and described even rhetorical criticism as criminal obstruction or witness tampering. Now, Biden has dismissed federal investigations of his son as just another form of political “foul play.” Various Democratic senators, including Schumer, have called for the Justice Department not to investigate the Hunter Biden allegations, and figures like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called for the termination of the Durham investigation.

With the confirmation of federal investigations into Hunter Biden, the media and Democratic figures dropped their prior claims that such allegations were Russian disinformation — in Schiff’s words, “out of the Kremlin.” Now, the influence-peddling scheme is treated as true but dismissed as no worse than what the Trumps did. In other words, if the Trump kids cashed in on their father, so can Hunter Biden. It does not matter if there were tax or money-laundering crimes, or if Joe Biden lied about his knowledge or role. The same people who demanded investigations of the business dealings of Trump’s children now cite those dealings to denounce any investigation of Biden’s son.

Trump has long had a similarly distortive impact on legal analysis. Both media and legal figures abandoned long-held views on criminal justice to endorse sweeping interpretations of criminal and constitutional provisions to justify charging or impeaching Trump. Flawed theories rejected by the Supreme Court were declared to be perfectly plausible when used against Trump.

Now, with only weeks left in office for Trump, there continues to be a sense of abandon in sweeping constitutional claims relating to him. Consider the issue of a self-pardon: While long viewed as an open question under the Constitution, various legal experts have declared that Trump clearly cannot pardon himself, a view some of us have challenged. One academic, Ken Gormley, went further this week, proposing that not only can Trump not pardon himself but that Biden can “un-pardon” him if he does. Such a view would require one to unlearn the constitutional language which not only does not limit the pardon power but does not create any power to rescind the pardons of prior presidents. Indeed, such a view would run counter to the history and purpose of pardons. Trump, however, seems virtually extraconstitutional — a rationale in and of himself.

Even constitutional terms apparently no longer have discernible meaning if they come in the same sentence as Trump. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) told CNN that members of Congress who question the election results “are bordering on sedition and treason.” That would mean more than 70 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats nationwide are potentially traitors for believing Trump won. Shaneen and her colleagues denounced Trump for calling people traitors and sought to protect officials who denounced his use of the label “enemies of the people” against reporters. Just two years ago, Trump was called a Stalin for using such labels by Democrats. It is same position taken recently before the Supreme Court by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who called a legal challenge to the election “seditious.” Of course, the use of the courts or Congress to raise such objections is the very opposite of sedition, which seeks to overthrow the legal system.

Democrats did not accuse their colleagues of treason or sedition when they sought to block the certification of Ohio’s electoral votes in Congress in 2004. They did not call Hillary Clinton traitorous for advising Biden not to concede any Trump victory on Election Night. They did not describe members of Congress or the media as traitors for repeatedly declaring Trump “illegitimate” over the last four years.

Napoleon once said “treason is a matter of dates.” And the key date in the United States, for now, appears to be Nov. 7 — the day the media declared Joe Biden the presumptive winner. It also would seem to be the day that millions of Americans became presumptive traitors for questioning the election results. This, according to the same Democrats who once legitimately denounced Trump for calling his critics “traitors” and “enemies of the people.”

It seems Trump is simply too useful to really let go. Without him, the critics would be forced to live according to the values they claimed to defend for the last four years. Why be civil, collaborative or constitutional when you can act like Trump? After all, you’ve got Trumpunity.

153 thoughts on “Trumpunity: How Democrats Are Adopting Trump Rhetoric and Tactics For The Biden Presidency”

  1. Surely Turley is kidding with his presentation to the jury about Trumpunity & double standards. Yesterday, Trump pardoned his campaign manager who was convicted in Federal court of numerous felonies including multiple counts of tax fraud & income tax evasion by hiding $18 million in undeclared earnings from Ukraine. Trump pardoned Duncan Hunter who was convicted on multiple counts of stealing campaign funds for personal use. He pardoned Roger Stone, Gates & Papadopoulos who were convicted of multiple perjury charges during the Russian investigation. Trump began his presidency by agreeing to pay $25 million to hundreds of Americans who were conned & in some cases bankrupted by his Trump University business scam. Last year, Trump was court-ordered to pay $2 million to 8 charities for using charitable donations for his own personal & political purposes.

    Meanwhile, Turley is laser focused on Joe & Hunter Biden & Senator Shaheen.

    Keep talking about double standards, JT. You clearly have a wealth of experience on that one.

  2. How to Spin a “Clarification”

    Suppose there’s a news story about an alleged arsonist. Included with all the evidence for why “Roger” is a suspected arsonist, are these two, minor points: That he immigrated from Turkey, and that he graduated from Syracuse University. (Neither of those two points are relevant to the charge of arson.)

    Then the news outlet issues a clarification: “Roger did not immigrate from Turkey; he immigrated from Egypt. And while he did attend Syracuse, he never graduated.”

    Next, some spin doctor pounces on that clarification to assert the following: “Conspiracy theories about Roger have been debunked.”

    That, I submit, is a dishonest use of a clarification. It is intended to seduce the unwary into concluding: “There’s no arson, here. Move along.” (The clarification, of course, did not even address the arson charge.)

    Some news organization have issued clarifications about their reporting on Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic. (Newsmax is the latest. See here:

    Those clarifications address issues of company origins, corporate relationships and ownership. They have *nothing* to do with the important charges: The corruptibility of Dominion’s machines. That those machines were corrupted in the election. That’s Dominion’s corrupt *Security Chief*, Eric Commer, had the motive, means, and opportunity to rig the election for Biden. That China “invested” $400 million in Dominion (via its parent company, Staple Street Capital).

    Birds of a feather: The dishonest who spin clarifications, to shill for a man (Biden) who is a pathological liar.

  3. He Ain’t No Hero, Folks


    During his Ecuadorian embassy days, Julian Assange was essentially a James Bond-like villain. A non-American meddling in a U.S. election by releasing emails hacked by Russian-related geeks.

    Calling Assange a ‘journalist’ dignifies an international mischief maker. Assange never proved himself as a writer. Assange never wrote a feature story telling us what can be learned from the DNC emails. Or ‘why’ they needed to be hacked.

    The truth is that Julian Assange is an anarchist who feels the United States functions as an evil empire. Assange meddled in our election because he knew Donald Trump would polarize this country to a breaking point.

    And here are at said breaking point! Trump has paid-off for Assange and Putin beyond their wildest expectations; a one-man lost cause taking down America.

  4. Did Little Miss [I don’t leave home without my] Affirmative Action, NeedsToBeCommittedToAnInsaneAsylum, say “Discovery” in Dominion Voting Systems, Smartmatic et al. v Sidney Powell?

    “On Sunday night Attorney Lin Wood responded to Dominion Voting Machines.

    Lin Wood: “I am not impressed. Ms. Powell retracts nothing.”

    This ought to get REAL interesting when they call in Dominion Antifa hack Eric Coomer in to testify!”

    – Jim Hoft

    Oltmann claimed he had infiltrated local antifa groups in Colorado, and in September 2020 took part in a telephone conference call. He said during that conversation, he heard a man named Eric speak, and

    another caller referred to him as “Eric, the Dominion guy.” According to Oltmann, another participant in the call asked “What are we going to do if (expletive)ing Trump wins,” to which, according to Oltmann, “Eric” replied

    “Don’t worry about the election. Trump is not going to win, I made (expletive)ing sure of that. Hahaha.”

    – Snopes

  5. First, when did agents suspect Christopher Steele had gone beyond being an informant to an agent provocateur trying to influence the 2016 election?

    And secondly, when did the bureau realize a Yahoo News article wasn’t independent proof of his allegations but rather a leak from his infamous dossier?

    A newly declassified text message from lead agent Peter Strzok — released last week to GOP Senate investigators Ron Johnson and Charles Grassley — suggests the FBI knew the answers to both questions in September 2016, well before agents went to a court and secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant suggesting Steele was credible and the Yahoo News article was independent proof of his anti-Trump allegations.

    Rest of article:

    Part of the documentation:

    1. Saloth, who the hell is Stella Moris and ‘why’ should we care what she tweets??

  6. In Final Press Conference, William Barr Throws Cold Water On..

    Special Counsels For Hunter Biden And Trump’s Election Claims

    Attorney General William Barr said Monday he sees no reason to appoint a special counsel to lead the ongoing federal investigation into Hunter Biden or to further probe President Trump’s claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

    The comments from Barr, delivered at what was likely his final news conference as attorney general, put a damper on two ideas that the president has reportedly raised in recent days. But Barr’s ability to influence events all but disappears Wednesday when he will step down as attorney general.

    President-elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter announced this month that he’s under federal investigation for potential tax issues. President Trump has fumed since news of the probe came to light, arguing that Barr should have made the investigation public before the election — in contravention of department policy.

    Some Republicans are pushing for the Justice Department to name a special counsel to handle the probe, which would add an extra layer of protection from potential political influence in a sensitive case involving the president-elect’s son. Asked whether he agreed with the idea, Barr said no.

    “I think it’s being handled responsibly and professionally currently within the department, and to this point I have seen to reason to appoint a special counsel, and I have no plan to do so before I leave,” he told reporters.

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware is leading the investigation.

    Barr was also asked whether he saw the need to appoint a special counsel to investigate the president’s baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud.

    Barr has previously said the department looked into allegations and found no evidence of systemic fraud that would change the election’s outcome. On Monday, Barr said he stood by those remarks.

    “If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and was appropriate, I would name one but I haven’t and I’m not going to,” he said.

    According to media reports, the president has discussed with advisers possibly appointing a special counsel for alleged election fraud. Trump reportedly raised the idea of naming Sidney Powell, a lawyer who represented Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, for the role. Powell has also taken a very public role pushing the president’s baseless claims of fraud.

    Edited from: “Barr Says No Need For Special Counsel For Hunter Biden Probe, Election Fraud Claims”

    Today’s NPR

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