About the Author
Opinion Archives
E-mail Scott
Scott's Links

Donald Trump is a hammer. He thinks everything is a nail.

By Scott Tibbs, December 7, 2018

One thing conservatives love about President Trump is that when someone hits him, he fights back. We have spent too many decades watching Republicans take it on the chin and not defend themselves. But Trump is a hammer, and he thinks everything is a nail that needs to be pounded. This is why he got into a silly Twitter fight with Republican-appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Now, let's be clear. On the substance of the argument, Trump is right and Roberts is wrong. Obviously there are "Obama judges" in our federal court system. Roberts is holding to the ideal of what a judge should be - someone who looks at the law and the Constitution and makes decisions based on that, and he does have a vested interest in that image. Trump is saying what everyone knows about human nature. People are biased and carry their bias with them. We should not let idealism blind us to reality.

And let's be clear here, because this point deserves emphasis. Trump is right and Roberts is wrong. No one believes that judges at any level are automatons who do not being their personal biases into their opinions. That is not how human nature works. It is disingenuous in the extreme to pretend otherwise.

Everyone attacking Trump on his "Obama judges" remark knows Trump is right. Do you know how I know this? Because of all of the anger and outrage that Trump has picked two Supreme Court justices. Because of all of the anger about what a more conservative Supreme Court would do on homosexual marriage, abortion and religious freedom. Everyone knows that who we put on the court will have a big impact on these issues. Please stop pretending otherwise. Nobody believes you, and you do not even believe yourself.

But is this really the best way for the President of these United States to spend his time? Is it politically smart for the President to be engaged in Twitter trolling of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Yes, Trump is right. Frankly, Roberts should not have engaged with Trump, because it is an argument that benefits no one. (And also because Trump is right and Roberts is wrong.)

But continuing to troll the Chief Justice on his personal Twitter account is beneath the dignity of the Presidency. Trump should have stated his opinion and moved on. There is no good that comes from continuing to hit Roberts. It makes Trump look thin-skinned and petulant, because he is.