The president suggests he sees the rule of law as an impediment to getting tough on crime.
“America is once more a nation of laws,” President Trump said near the end of a speech Friday afternoon in Brentwood, New York. He meant it as a boast, but one could be forgiven for thinking it was a lament, given the rest of the speech.
Trump has portrayed himself, like Richard Nixon, as a president who can bring law and order, but on closer examination, his rhetoric is far more about order (understood in a particular way) than about law. In fact, the president often evinces an impatience with the tendency of the rule of law to get in the way of toughness and vengeance, and his dark, blood-stained speech Friday about the gang MS-13 was no different.
“They stomp on their victims and beat them with gloves; they slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives,” Trump said. “They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields.”