Laurence Tribe to Trump and Each of His Supporters: ‘You Are a Pathetic Excuse for a Human Being’

Laurence Tribe to Trump and Each of His Supporters: ‘You Are a Pathetic Excuse for a Human Being’

Constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe took aim at President Trump and his defenders as the House impeachment inquiry’s televised hearings have begun to expose the president’s wrongdoings before the American public.

Tribe, co-author of the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment, told Chris Matthews on Hardball Thursday night that the Republicans’ defense articulated Wednesday during the hearings of Bill Taylor and George Kent was “ridiculous.”

“If you solicit a bribe and are caught red-handed before you get the bribe, you’ve still committed bribery,” Tribe explained. “And in this case it was extortion as well as bribery. It was a clear abuse of power.”

Several Republicans and Trump administration figures have resorted to pushing the shaky narrative that since military aid to Ukraine ultimately was released and the Ukrainian president never made an announcement concerning an investigation into Trump’s political rivals, there is no cause for concern. However, the aid was released only after the press reported on and Congress became aware of the matter.

“For [Trump to say], ‘I was caught and so it doesn’t matter,’ is really a desperate and unconvincing move,” Tribe said.

“We’ve had corrupt presidents before, presidents who have trimmed the sails this way or that, but we’ve never had somebody whose whole purpose in holding that office is to enrich himself and enhance the power of his family and the wealth of his family,” Tribe expounded. “This is not just a marginal violation. This is essentially an anti-president.”

Tribe, who has taught at Harvard Law School since 1968 and has argued more than 30 cases before the Supreme Court, called on the public to recognize how the events detailed by House witnesses in the last few weeks are worthy of the constitutionally-ordained process of impeaching the president and removing him from office.

“I think it’s about time that people pay more attention to the Constitution and to the purposes of our democracy than to the trivial business of getting re-elected,” Tribe said.

“If your office is so important to you that you’re going to violate your oath and [if you] vote for someone who violates his oath every day and who uses the office of the presidency to enrich himself and to enhance his power, then I really think you are a pathetic excuse for a human being.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.