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Former Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes was blasted on social media after he sent out a tweet criticizing as “illegitimate” the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-related restrictions on church gatherings.
In response to an MSNBC story reporting the 5-4 ruling — another in which Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the country’s left-wing — Rhodes, a contributor to the network and co-host of Pod Save The World, wrote, “The new illegitimate 5-4 SCOTUS majority overturning a policy to put more lives in danger.”
The new illegitimate 5-4 SCOTUS majority overturning a policy to put more lives in danger. https://t.co/i8zzrqB6Vr
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) November 26, 2020
Rhodes was immediately set upon by critics who blasted him for being tone-deaf on the issue of attacking and trying to delegitimize American institutions, which Democrats have accused President Donald Trump and Republicans of doing for the past four years.
“Denying the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is an act that undermines our Democracy and the Constitution and is dangerous and irresponsible behavior. @Twitter this deserves a warning label,” a user named Dinkledash wrote.
Denying the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is an act that undermines our Democracy and the Constitution and is dangerous and irresponsible behavior. @Twitter this deserves a warning label.
— Dinkledash (@Dinkeldash) November 26, 2020
Others chimed in as well.
Undermining democratic institutions is good now https://t.co/oNAz7ReTmC
— I. Noah Guy (@Decentguyusedto) November 26, 2020
Yeah, it's Trump who's been trying to delegitimize our institutions. https://t.co/pSe1apJIFc
— Fusilli Spock (@awstar11) November 26, 2020
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) November 27, 2020
There is no “put more lives in danger” exception to the Constitution that allows viewpoint discrimination. If Rhodes or Cuomo cared, they’d have pushed consistent policies that also ban protests. https://t.co/uU1u4df8Yq
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) November 26, 2020
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) also blasted Cuomo for his dismissal of SCOTUS as “irrelevant.”
“The Worst Governor in America calls the United States Supreme Court irrelevant. The Worst Governor in America believes he has the right to shred New Yorkers Constitutional rights. The Worst Governor in America continues to be a disgrace,” she wrote on Twitter.
The Worst Governor in America calls the United States Supreme Court irrelevant.
The Worst Governor in America believes he has the right to shred New Yorkers Constitutional rights.
The Worst Governor in America continues to be a disgrace👇 https://t.co/nPMB5b5ghN
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) November 27, 2020
Democrats have also been accused of hypocrisy for attacking President Trump over his refusal to concede to rival Joe Biden, claiming that it undermines the country’s democratic processes and election integrity.
In recent days, the Washington Post’s Dan Sargent wrote that the president’s legal challenges to election results, which are based on credible allegations of vote fraud as assessed by witnesses in sworn affidavits, is “designed to place a cloud of illegitimacy over Biden’s presidency.”
Meanwhile, Julie Pace and Steven Sloan of the Associated Press write of their concern that “Republicans risk leaving millions of Americans with the false impression that the results of the 2020 race are illegitimate. . . . Biden will almost certainly be viewed as an illegitimate president by some voters, potentially denying him that period of goodwill that typically greets a new president.”
Pace and Sloan went on to quote Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who said: “Their intent is to delegitimize this election and thereby delegitimize President-elect Biden’s presidency. It is damaging to the democracy. Once again they’re putting their short-term political interests ahead of the interests of the country.”
But as noted by the National Review’s Dan McLaughlin, shortly after President Trump’s 2016 victory, Democrats and their media allies began to cast doubts on his legitimacy, alternately claiming that he “colluded” with Russia to steal the election and that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.
Recounting that Democrats began their ‘illegitimate president’ campaign in 2001 after George W. Bush narrowly defeated then-Vice President Al Gore following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that essentially awarded Florida to the former Texas governor, McLaughlin wrote that they reprised their allegations again in 2004, after Bush won reelection, and again following Trump’s victory.
On the eve of the 2016 election, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman claimed the election was “rigged.”
In November 2017, Clinton remarked to Mother Jones about her election loss, “There are lots of questions about its legitimacy.”
In May 2019, she told a small venue during an “Evening with the Clintons” event the election was “stolen” from her. “You can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can have the election stolen from you,” she said she has told Democratic candidates.
In September 2019, she was asked by CBS News if the “Lock Her Up” chants heard at Trump campaign events bothered her. She replied: “No, it doesn’t kill me because he knows he’s an illegitimate president.”
In February, she called Trump “Putin’s puppet” and accused him of “taking Russian help for himself. He knows he can’t win without it. And we can’t let it happen.”
Also, in January 2017, the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) led a boycott of 62 other Democrats of Trump’s inauguration, telling “Meet The Press” that month: “don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president. . . . I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
Inauguration Day was also “unlike the typical American handover of power” because it was “marred by violent protests that led to over 200 arrests,” McLaughlin wrote.
“Nobody at the time was concerned about giving Trump a ‘honeymoon’ period. Why was opposition to Trump branded as ‘the Resistance?’ Precisely to communicate a rejection of the democratic legitimacy of the government, as if the protestors were donning berets and dodging the occupying Wehrmacht,” he added.
And Dave Weigel of the Washington Post called events and the resistance to Trump’s inauguration “one of the broadest — and earliest — opposition campaigns ever to greet a new president . . . a steady run of public protests, many of them endorsed by Democrats.”
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