by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
One of the key aspects of the Trump presidency has been his success at maintaining the vibrant and dynamic role of the office of the president. In John Yoo’s latest book “Defender in Chief,” he counters the narrative that President Trump challenges our constitutional order. On the contrary, Yoo explains, President Trump has been quite remarkable in promoting and protecting the presidency as an integral part of our federal system. …
… In “Defender in Chief,” Yoo carefully explains the seriousness of the Trump administration in pursuing its objectives lawfully and also simultaneously reveals how so many of his critics colored outside Constitutional lines.
In nine chapters, he reminds us of the myriad methods of this dichotomy that psychologists might otherwise call projection. Remember the left’s attacks on the Electoral College? Yoo also reminds us of the odious court-packing schemes of FDR, repackaged by progressives Pete Buttigieg and VP candidate Kamala Harris.
Woo walks us through the run-up to Trump’s “travel ban” case before the Supreme Court. In a big win for Trump, the Court explicitly rejected the “second-guessing” of the president’s exercise of his discretion to carry out congressionally established immigration regulations by lower courts and his critics who’d predicted a near-unanimous slap down.
Even when the policy issue doesn’t necessitate a visit to federal courts, Trump’s critics twist themselves into pretzels figuring out how to oppose him. Take the Paris Agreement or the Iran nuclear deal. In both cases, President Obama failed to follow the Constitution’s predicates to submit the agreements to the Senate as treaties. Yet when Trump withdrew from both he was criticized for “undermining America’s standing in the world.” …
… Seeing to it that the office of the presidency retains its prerogatives is a basic responsibility of any president.