No, It’s Not Treason to Not Applaud the President

In a speech in Cincinnati on Monday, Donald Trump had some harsh criticisms for the Democrats who attended his State of the Union speech and did not extend him standing ovations. Among his more negative adjectives were “un-American” and “treasonous.”

“Can we call that treason? Why not?” Trump asked. “I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”

While it’s true that congressional Democrats showed very little enthusiasm for the president, declining to applaud is not only not treasonous, it’s not even uncommon at the annual event. Applause for certain issues typically comes down to partisan appeal.

Remember, Trump is a man who spent his years before running for political office openly and habitually criticizing Barack Obama, even questioning the former commander in chief’s citizenship. Trump should be thankful that failing to support the president is not grounds for treason, or he’d have long ago been found guilty himself.

It’s reckless and irresponsible to portray political opponents as traitors to their country. Besides, at this moment, it’s clear that Democrats are the politicians seeking to maintain long-cherished democratic norms by demanding accountability from the executive branch.

Trump’s comments should be considered part of the GOP’s larger effort to equate blind loyalty to the party and patriotism. Republicans symbolically wrap themselves in the flag and label their political opponents “un-American” so that followers won’t even consider voting another way because they supposedly hate the country.

Democracy thrives from a free exchange of ideas. It is not acceptable for liberals to question Trump’s policies, but healthy for the state of the country. To knowingly confuse voters of this fact is to veer the country in the wrong direction.

Treason is a capital offense, so to even toss the word around so casually is damaging. Then again, with the treason word being discussed in connection to the Russian collusion investigation, it could be a conservative strategy to either render the word meaningless or to suddenly pretend that both sides regularly accuse the other side of treason.

The day’s speech was supposedly intended to promote the Republican tax legislation, which, yes, has already gone into law. Instead, the tone devolved into one of Trump’s typical campaign rallies, where he taunted the Democrats’ ineffectiveness and falsely claimed the Devin Nunes memo had vindicated him from wrongdoing. Though he has claimed credit for the soaring stock market in events past, he did not own up to or acknowledge Monday’s record stock market drop in his speech.

Still, it was watching Trump’s supporters nod, smile and clap at the president while he declared Democrats traitors that will stick out the most. Given that Republicans made a big deal out of Trump using his State of the Union to call for bipartisanship and national unity, it’s clear that was a hollow talking point that the president has already forgotten.

87 comments

Amanda M
Amanda M3 months ago

What That Idiot in the White House calls "treason," the real (and EDUCATED) world calls DISSENSION, and a very polite form at that! Furthermore, his "State of the Union" was nothing more than yet another bragfest and opportunity for him to spew his bile and ignorance. As if we didn't get enough of that crap already every time he opens his mouth. He needs to go back to school and learn history, science, and what REAL FACTS are.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

runs off at the mouth

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

th

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

Given some of his own aides were charged with conspiring against the United States....

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Winn A
Winn A3 months ago

Every time he opens his mouth you can hear by his own words that he's a moron. He could give a class in how to be a complete and utter fool.

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Cathy B
Cathy B3 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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shawn a
Darlene Buckingham3 months ago

It is becoming clear that politicians think the public are easily influenced aka idiots and believe everything that is said to them by trolls. The public has to become more informed about politics and then this whole Russsian red herring would not be happening because this is only about bickering politicians and fake news. There are so many other issues that are pressing while the media and politicians take up precious time with their infighting. The public has to become educated and stop listening to talking heads trying to influence them. Research and informed choice are essential in today's world with everyone trying to influence rather than educate.

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Brian F
Brian F3 months ago

Mike K. The election is over, get over it. The Democrats lost because they have become corrupt and corporate owned like the Republicans, rigged the primary for Bernie Sanders to lose, and anointed a Wall Street crook Hillary, which caused this fraud Trump to win. Bernie Sanders didn't say to vote for Hillary after she lost. Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in then country. Bernie Sanders also told the Democrats to end their corruption, end their unfair super delegate rule, and support progressive policies that we desperately need in this country, like Medicare for All. Clearly the Democrats will never do this because they are beholden to their donors. Enjoy losing again to Trump in 2020. Your criminal Democratic party is finished.

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Mike K
Mike Kelly3 months ago

Brian F,

Vladimir Putin's intelligence spies urged us all to vote for Bernie even though Bernie told us not to. Some voters fell for the ruse. There are still some of these moronic, Russian trolls babbling Putin's talking points here today.

Dasvidanya, Brianskilov.

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Holly Windle
Holly Windle3 months ago

It's unfortunate that Trump tends to speak like an autocratic megalomaniac.

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