Donald Trump met with Republican members of Congress last week in an effort to assuage any concerns they may have about his candidacy. In this meeting, they asked him if he’d defend Article I of the Constitution (which, of course, is the section of the Constitution that establishes the legislative branch, including Congress).
Trump understood this question. He understood it so good, you wouldn’t believe. Everyone said he understood it the best, better than anyone. Of course he’s going to protect Article I, and heck, why stop there? Not only will he protect Article I, but he also pledged to protect Article II and — for good measure — Article XII. Sounds great, right? Except that — oops — there *is* no Article XII of the Constitution. But whatever — if there were, Trump would protect it better than you’d even believe.
As far as Trump gaffes go, this one is relatively tame, though it may not have helped much with The Donald’s quest to mollify Republicans in Congress. However, it made us ponder how well the President truly needs to be acquainted with the Constitution.
Barack’s got the whole Harvard Law School thing going for him, so it’s safe to assume that he knows the Constitution backwards and forwards. And B.O., Esq. is in good company — 25 of the 44 U.S. Presidents have been lawyers. But of course, there have been plenty of very successful presidents without that little “J.D.” after their names — and Trump attended University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, so he’s got an Ivy League degree of his own. So that returns us to our question: Should we hold the fact that he’s a little fuzzy on the particulars of Constitutional law against him? (Seven, by the way. There are seven articles of the Constitution.)
The President’s role includes a range of powers, from signing or vetoing legislation to leading the armed forces to appointing federal judges. In doing these things, it’s probably a good idea for the President to have a firm grasp on what’s constitutional and what’s not. The good news is that the big guy himself doesn’t necessarily need to be an expert on these matters, as long as he’s surrounded by knowledgeable advisors. Thus far, Trump has seemed relatively untroubled by little questions like whether the actions he’s proposing are constitutional. But surely, if he were President, his advisors would set him straight on those issues — right? Right??!