Speed Reads

Tapper Time

Jake Tapper reminds Trump that 'equating brutality and despotism with leadership' is 'not an American value'

One of the things President Trump says he learned in his first 100 days in office is that the U.S. system of government is "archaic," a word he repeated in multiple interviews over the weekend. On Monday night, CNN's Jake Tapper pulled out the Reagan card to remind Trump that American political history doesn't begin and end with Andrew Jackson.

Tapper began with Trump's suggestions about scrapping long-held bedrock rules, like the Senate filibuster. "Frustrated by his inability to pass any major legislation in Congress, President Trump is now starting to talk about changing those rules, as he threatened during the campaign," he said. "The White House is also now acknowledging that it has spent time — and your tax dollars — trying to figure out a way to change the modern legal interpretation of the First Amendment to the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of the press, James Madison be damned."

This talk isn't isolated banter, Tapper said. "This desire to change the constitutional systems we have in place to protect the nation from any theoretical would-be dictator comes at a time when President Trump has shown unusual actual outreach to a number of actual dictators, such as, for instance, North Korea's Kim Jong Un." He has also invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House, and praised Russia's Vladimir Putin, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "the Chinese despots who perpetrated the Tienanmen Square massacre," and other undemocratic rulers.

"Equating brutality and despotism with leadership, that's not an American value," Tapper said. "Ronald Reagan once noted how our Declaration of Independence — especially the notion that each and every individual is endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights — that's a beacon to the world. Reagan said, 'Our creed as Americans is that these rights, these human rights are the property of every man, woman, and child on this planet, and that a violation of human rights anywhere is the business of free people everywhere.' Whatever happened to that?" Stay tuned? Peter Weber