The Los Angeles Times is out with the third part of its editorial series criticizing President Trump, with Tuesday's focus on his "dangerously authoritarian vision." Since taking office, Trump has sought to undermine the courts (for daring to rule against him), intelligence agencies (for investigating Russian ties), the electoral process (via his claims of millions of fraudulent voters), the media (for pretty much any critical story), and his own federal agencies (through deep budget cuts and the appointment of secretaries hostile to their missions). Trump is a relative newcomer to politics and was perhaps unaware that these institutions could check his presidential power, notes the Times editorial board, but his outsized reaction to those with the nerve to challenge him goes beyond mere disagreement into risky territory.
"What’s uniquely threatening about Trump’s approach," says the editorial board, "is how many fronts he’s opened in this struggle for power and the vehemence with which he seeks to undermine the institutions that don’t go along." Sure, presidents disagree with judicial decisions, for example, but Trump's criticisms of judges go beyond that. He's aiming his critiques at a mass audience and trying to weaken public trust in the courts. In doing so, he "undermines faith in democracy and in the system and processes that make it work." No, these institutions are not in "imminent jeopardy," but don't underestimate the damage Trump can do, either. "He sees himself as not merely a force for change, but as a wrecking ball." Click for the full editorial.