Trump Time Capsule #35: Two Corinthians, and Twelve Constitution

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.
Talk about winning! Even before moving into the White House, Donald Trump has added more articles to the Constitution! He leaves the Capitol building this morning after performing this feat. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters.)

Charles Stevenson, long-time Congressional staffer and author of many books about the politics and policy of national security, writes about Donald Trump’s meeting this morning with Republicans on Capitol Hill:

You may have seen this TPM report about Trump’s meeting with House GOP. I think this part is especially significant:

Another Republican in the meeting who declined to go on the record so he could speak candidly told TPM that Trump was asked pointedly if he would defend Article I of the Constitution.

“Not only will I stand up for Article One,” Trump enthusiastically stated, according to the member in the room. “I'll stand up for Article Two, Article 12, you name it of the Constitution.”

The Republican member said that Trump’s lack of knowledge about how many articles exist, gave him “a little pause.” (The Constitution has seven articles and 27 amendments.)

Besides indicating Trump has little real knowledge of the Constitution, it also shows an insensitivity to the purpose of the question. Article I lists the powers of the Congress, which many Republicans say has been undermined by an overreaching Obama. Trump doesn’t seem to understand that he was being asked about legislative-executive relations and the proper balance between those branches. He didn't know, and probably doesn’t care. Lawmakers should.


For Trump’s “Two Corinthians” reference, suggesting he is as unfamiliar with nuances of the Bible as he is with the Constitution’s, check NPR’s story here. For more on his not-without-its-bumps meeting with Congressional Republicans, see Sean Sullivan’s and Philip Rucker’s Washington Post story here. It includes this gem:

Trump said at the meeting that he has yet to attack [Arizona senator Jeff] Flake hard but threatened to begin doing so. Flake stood up to Trump by urging him to stop attacking Mexicans. Trump predicted that Flake would lose his reelection, at which point Flake informed Trump that he was not on the ballot this year, the sources said.


The original Time Capsule thread is here, with items #1-#27. For entries starting with #28, go here.