“Just who the hell do you think you are?” Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Miami Herald blasts Trump in a scathing open letter.
Editor’s Note: Samuel Warde is the editor-in-chief of Liberals Unite (recently re-branded as The Art of Living) as well as a contributor to Mindy Fischer, Writer. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. You can view a list of his articles here.
The Washington Post reported that investigations are threatening to dominate the Trump administration as it heads into its third year. “Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation,” and in a few weeks Democrats will assume control of the House of Representatives creating a new barrage of legal troubles for the administration.
Trump’s response is to threaten a government shutdown and to up the ante on his ongoing war with the media. This weekend he even went so far as to lash out on Saturday Night Live in a bizarre Sunday morning tweet that appeared to lump show with news organizations.
Meanwhile Trump continues to wage his war on immigrants, the environment, Obamacare, NATO, the FBI, the Department of Justice and more in an effort to promote his regressive agenda and to distract his base from his legal woes.
All this makes it the perfect time to reflect on a open letter published last year by the Miami Herald asking the question that has been on the mind of many Americans regarding Trump:
“Just who the hell do you think you are?”
Syndicated columnist and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary Leonard Pitts, Jr. penned that open letter to Trump and “other members of the Fourth Reich” for publication last February as the Trump administration entered its second year.
Pitts began his letter to Trump with a snipe at his pitiful showing in the popular vote and referencing the controversy surrounding his connection to Russia:
You were elected as chief executive of the United States. I won’t belabor the fact that you won with a minority of the popular vote and a little help from your friends, FBI Director James Comey and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The bottom line is, you were elected.
“And this does entitle you to certain things,” he continues, adding that “there is one thing to which your election does not entitle you. It does not entitle you to do whatever pops into your furry orange head without being called on it or, should it run afoul of the Constitution, without being blocked.”
Pitt goes on to recite examples of the sheer arrogance and combative nature of Trump and his administration, peaking with senior policy adviser Stephen Miller’s declaration on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that “our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
Clearly stunned by the audacity of that remark, Pitt erupts – writing:
What you do “will not be questioned?” Lord, have mercy. That’s the kind of statement that, in another time and place, would have been greeted with an out-thrust palm and a hearty “Sieg heil!” Here in this time and place, however, it demands a different response:
Just who the hell do you think you are?
Meaning you and all the other trolls you have brought clambering up from under their bridges. Maybe you didn’t notice, but this is the United States of America. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Nation of laws, not of individuals? First Amendment? Freedom of the press? Any of that ringing a bell?
Let’s be brutally clear here. If you were a smart guy with unimpeachable integrity and a good heart who was enacting wise policies for the betterment of all humankind, you’d still be subject to sharp scrutiny from news media, oversight from Congress, restraint by the judiciary — and public opinion.
After some other stern observations, Pitt concludes his letter reminding Trump that “you’re no longer an emperor, Mr. So-Called President. You’re now what is called a ‘public servant’ — in effect, an employee with 324 million bosses.”
And let me tell you something about those bosses. They’re unruly and loud, long accustomed to speaking their minds without fear or fetter. And they believe power must always answer to the people. That’s at the core of their identity. Yet you and your coterie of cartoon autocrats think you’re going to cow them into silence and compliance by ordering them to shut up and obey? Well, as a freeborn American, I can answer that in two syllables flat.