by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President-elect Donald Trump has already committed a grave offense against our system of government by forming a “junta,” according to his critics.
The Trump junta consists of three former generals whom the president-elect has tapped for top national-security positions, with others still under consideration. Like much of what Trump does, the military selections have inflamed people who pride themselves on their knowledge and discernment into flights of self-discrediting outrage.
There are only a few problems with the charge that Trump is creating a junta, a term associated with Latin America and which the Cambridge dictionary defines as “a small group, especially of military officers, that rules a country after taking power by force.”
Namely, Trump didn’t seize the government by force; he himself is not a general (although he went to the New York Military Academy for high school); and the three generals he has tapped for top posts are all retired and therefore civilians. (Michael Flynn will be national-security adviser, and Trump has nominated James Mattis as defense secretary, and John Kelly as homeland-security secretary.)
The Trump cabinet, in other words, bears about as much resemblance to a junta as the Supreme Court does to the College of Cardinals because it has five justices who are Catholic and wear robes. To call the connection superficial is to understate how absurdly inapposite it is.