September 26, 2022

NOT SO SUBTLE: AG Merrick Garland sends a signal to Trump that he’s coming for him

NOT SO SUBTLE: AG Merrick Garland sends a signal to Trump that he's coming for him

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Attorney General Merrick Garland appeared to take a shot at Donald Trump in a speech at Ellis Island on Citizenship Day.

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Honored with administering the Oath of Allegiance to the United States’ newest citizens in celebration of Constitution Week, Garland, the nation’s top prosecutor and the grandson of Jewish migrants fleeing Nazi Germany, drew a line in the sand between lawlessness and democracy.

The methodical AG put Trump on notice that neither he—nor the constitution—will be threatened or intimidated by the former president’s thinly veiled threats to democracy and the safety of this country.

The law applies to everyone, according to Garland. Every American citizen is due equal protection under it, and no one is above it. This line, however, was the real kicker:

That we will do what is right, even if that means doing what is difficult.

In his Ellis Island speech, the never-to-be-thanks-to-the-GOP SCOTUS justice reiterated previous statements he had made when asked about the Justice Department’s investigation of ex-President Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection that attempted prevent the electoral count and in the handling of classified government materials, and whether the department will move to indict.

“No one person is above the law in this country,” the Attorney General clearly reminded the nation.

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“The Rule of Law means that the same laws apply to all of us, regardless of whether we are this country’s newest citizens or whether our [families] have been here for generations,” Garland said. “The Rule of Law means that the law treats each of us alike: there is not one rule for friends, another for foes; one rule for the powerful, another for the powerless; a rule for the rich, another for the poor; or different rules, depending upon one’s race or ethnicity or country of origin. The Rule of Law means that we are all protected in the exercise of our civil rights; in our freedom to worship and think as we please; and in the peaceful expression of our opinions, our beliefs, and our ideas.”

When Garland’s grandmother emigrated to the United States, barely escaping being killed by Hitler’s fascists, “This country took her in. And under the protection of our laws,” and “she was able to live without fear of persecution,” the Justice Department head declared.

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“Shortly after Hitler’s army entered Austria that year, my wife’s mother escaped to the United States. Under the protection of our laws, she too, was able to live without fear of persecution. That protection is what distinguishes America from so many other countries. The protection of law—the Rule of Law—is the foundation of our system of government.”

While former President Trump has used his platform to denigrate immigrants—denying their contributions and reversing our commitment as a nation to those fleeing persecution and seeking a better life—Garland applauds their bravery and honors that of his ancestors while reminding the public that our laws and constitution also protect the undocumented. It’s a sentiment that is contrary to Trump and the GOP’s narrative.

“I know that you have made sacrifices in order to be here today. You should be proud of all you have accomplished. I am proud of you,” Garland said.

In a time of increased division, Attorney General Garland talked about the importance of agreeing to disagree without resorting to the violence often encouraged by Trump’s MAGA supporters, saying that the Rule of Law:

“Demands that we tolerate peaceful disagreement with one another on issues of politics and policy. It demands that we listen to each other, even when we disagree. And it demands that we reject violence and threats of violence that endanger each other and endanger our democracy.”

On the same evening Garland was delivering a bold, inspiring, and patriotic speech, the loser of the 2020 Presidential election was spouting inflammatory rhetoric, criticizing our nation’s institutions and system of government, and stoking anger and grievance.

Garland, on the other hand, delivered a message of unity.

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“We are all in this together. We are all Americans.”

The Attorney General’s words at Ellis Island are not only a rallying call to protect the Rule of Law, uphold the constitution, and denounce the division of violence, but a subtle and unwavering rebuke of Donald Trump and those who support him while he is thumbing his nose at the law.

“That we will honor and defend our Constitution. That we will recognize and respect the dignity of our fellow Americans. That we will uphold the Rule of Law and seek to make real the promise of equal justice under law. That we will do what is right, even if that means doing what is difficult,” Garland said.

Garland knows the significance and impact immigrants have on America as a nation and that they give way more than they take. He also recognizes the importance of protecting our founding principles and remembering what sets us apart from the less developed world and reminds us —and Trump’s MAGA followers—that he is committed to upholding the Rule of Law.

Read the Ellis Island remarks here.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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