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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/8/17

Trump's War on the Courts, the Press, and the States

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What could be the press's reason for covering up terrorist attacks, in Trump's mind? What is it that Trump assumed the military officers "understood?"

The only possible inference is Trump believes that the press -- like Judge Robart -- seeks to imperil our nation, because it doesn't cow tow to Donald Trump.

The states

State governments pose a third line of defense against Trump. Several state attorneys general have taken Trump's travel ban to court, and one particularly large Democratic state -- California -- has defied him on immigration and the environment. So Trump is directed his ire against these states as well.

In a televised interview Sunday, Trump threatened to take federal dollars away from California. "We give tremendous amounts of money to California ... California in many ways is out of control ... We may have to [defund California]. Certainly that would be a weapon," he told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.

A weapon for what? What could Trump have been talking about? The federal government doesn't give tremendous amounts of money to California, at least not net dollars. In fact, Californians send more tax dollars to the federal government each year than the state gets back from the federal government.

Fiscally, California isn't "out of control." Since 2013, the state has operated with a budget surplus. That's more than can be said for the federal government. Or for Trump's own business, for that matter.

Trump's real beef is California is independent of him. It has defied Trump with its high environmental standards and "sanctuary" cities. Even worse, from his standpoint, its citizens voted against him in the 2016 election by 2 to 1, for a total of over 4 million votes. He can't seem to get this out of his mind.

Trump has repeatedly suggested that millions of those votes were fraudulent. Last week, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer identified California as one of the "bigger states" that merit a federal probe into election fraud, adding, "That's where I think we're gonna look."

But Trump has no evidence of voter fraud in California, or any other state for that matter.

For Trump, evidence is irrelevant. California needs to be taught a lesson -- just as do Judge Robart and other members of the federal judiciary who defy him, just as do journalists and media outlets that criticize him. And what is that lesson? That they dare not cross Trump.

The judiciary, the press, and California are major centers of resistance to Trump, because they are independent of him. So he's escalating his attacks on them.

Trump doesn't want any resistance. He wants total control.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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