AG Barr attacks the ‘dangerous’ anti-Trump ‘Resistance’

November 19, 2019

In a rousing speech to the Federalist Society’s 2019 National Lawyers Convention on Friday night, Attorney General Bill Barr destroyed the leftist “Resistance” to President Donald Trump, exposing them for the imminent danger to our constitutional republic that they truly are. 

Barr calls out the anti-Trump “resistance”

The first part of Barr’s speech centered on his view of how the constitutional powers of the Executive branch were deliberately created by the Framers to ensure a strong and independent Executive. The powers of that branch have been encroached upon and usurped by both the Legislative and Judicial branches of the government for some time now, and even more in recent years.

“Immediately after President Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called ‘The Resistance,’ and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his Administration,” Barr said. “Now, ‘resistance’ is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power. It obviously connotes that the government is not legitimate.” He continued:

This is a very dangerous — indeed incendiary — notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic. What it means is that, instead of viewing themselves as the ‘loyal opposition,’ as opposing parties have done in the past, they essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.

The “resistance” within Congress

One example of the Legislative “Resistance” to Trump has been the manner in which the Democrat minority in the Senate has abused the “advice and consent process” to hold up presidential nominees and prevent the formation of a functioning government. Barr noted that the Republican majority has been forced to invoke cloture votes 236 times to confirm Trump’s nominees, in comparison to only 17 forced cloture votes under former President Obama.

Barr also noted that the Legislative branch has ceded an abundance of its own powers to the “administrative state” that has allowed it more time to conduct “oversight” of the Executive, an admitted power that has nonetheless been abused, in Barr’s view. “But the sheer volume of what we see today — the pursuit of scores of parallel ‘investigations’ through an avalanche of subpoenas — is plainly designed to incapacitate the Executive Branch, and indeed is touted as such,” he said.

“One of the ironies of today is that those who oppose this President constantly accuse this Administration of ‘shredding’ constitutional norms and waging a war on the rule of law,” Barr said, and noted he never receives a response when he asks for specific examples. “While the President has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook, he was upfront about that beforehand, and the people voted for him. What I am talking about today are fundamental constitutional precepts.”

“The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of ‘Resistance’ against this Administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law,” he added.

Barr also pointed out the quasi-religious manner in which progressives view politics and worship the “coercive power of the State” to further their own agenda. “They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides,” he said.

The whole speech is worth hearing. Watch:

Judicial branch part of “resistance” too

It isn’t just the Legislative branch that makes up the “Resistance” to President Trump, however. The attorney general also turned his attention to the Judicial branch and the manner in which it has increasingly obstructed and undermined the Executive branch.

The first way of doing so is how the judicial system has become a sort of arbiter in squabbles over the separation of powers between the other branches, something it was never intended to do, but also by way of interjecting “judicial review” that imposes the court’s judgment over that of the Executive as well as “nationwide injunctions” that can freeze an administration’s policies for years.

Attorney General Barr has unmasked and exposed the left’s “Resistance” to Trump in the Congress and the courts and called it out for what it is, and it is no surprise that many on the left are up in arms. Conservatives should feel encouraged.


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Ben Marquis

Ben Marquis is a staff writer for Conservative Institute.