CNN published a commentary this weekend in which the author warns readers that President Trump could refuse to leave office after his term ends.
The article then quite seriously details the strategies the country would have to use to stop the madman from holding the presidential seat hostage.
It’s a wild ride.
The article, by Joshua A. Geltzer, the executive director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and visiting law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, is titled, “What if Trump refuses to accept defeat in 2020?”
In it, Geltzer posits that the president is a power-hungry idiot whose free rein in the White House has definitely only strengthened his latent dictatorial tendencies.
Geltzer then poses the problem he’ll spend the rest of the article trying to solve: “Regardless of who runs in 2020, if Trump loses, will he leave the Oval Office peacefully?”
This is supposedly a rational — and definitely not ridiculous — question to ask because, according to Geltzer, “Trump is increasingly proving himself to be a President eager to overstep his authority.
What if Donald Trump loses in 2020 but won’t leave the Oval Office peacefully?
— Joshua A. Geltzer (@jgeltzer) February 23, 2019
What if Trump refuses to accept defeat in 2020?
Joshua A. Geltzer writes that President Trump might refuse to leave office in 2020, but there are four key actors that can work to prevent that from hapenning: the Electoral College, Congress,…
“… It’s at least plausible that Trump might attempt to cling to power in ways previously unimaginable by an American president,” Geltzer continues.
OK. Say you buy into the fear-mongering. What can we do?
Don’t worry. Geltzer is here to help.
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“Thankfully, there are four steps that key actors across the American system of governance can take to get ahead of this possibility,” he writes.
Hold up – you’re saying that there are already laws and processes in place to prevent the president from exceeding his term? Who knew?
(But hey, he’s writing for a CNN audience. Baby steps.)
Really, Geltzer just goes on to give a “Schoolhouse Rock”-level lesson about how American presidential elections work. He lays out what the Electoral College is (though he can’t help but refer to it as “justifiably much-maligned.”)
He explains that it’s Congress that counts the electoral votes, before he pleads with Congress to “pledge to hold public hearings with intelligence community leaders should those officials or any candidate suggest that vote counts were influenced by foreign election interference or for any other reason.”
“That unvarnished testimony by intelligence professionals could debunk any claims by Trump (or any other candidate) that the final vote count shouldn’t be honored,” Geltzer continues.
Geltzer saves his best and battiest point for last: If Trump loses the election and physically refuses to leave the office, the military can be called in to force him out.
“But imagine the most extreme scenario, with Congress certifying Trump’s defeat but Trump refusing to leave office,” Geltzer writes.
“In those circumstances, the military would no longer owe its loyalty to Donald Trump as of noon on January 20, 2021. And it’s worth asking the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as they testify before Congress in coming months, to affirm that they understand that and would act consistently with it.”
I know what you’re thinking, and I already checked: The article is not meant to be satire, as far as I can tell. It wasn’t published by The Onion, it was published by CNN.
Liberals are now, in apparent earnestness, planning for a near future where the president refuses to leave the White House after his term. And CNN — the network Trump has referred to repeatedly as “fake news” — is profiting from the fear-mongering.
This is just an opinion article, so it doesn’t mean that CNN shares Geltzer’s views. But it’s still incredible that the news organization gave Geltzer such a large audience for his wild musings about a totally unrealistic scenario.
As Geltzer wrote in the piece, “These are dire thoughts. But we live in uncertain and worrying times.”
Especially at CNN, apparently.