As Trump announces he is above the law — we slide from democracy to dictatorship

Shaun King
4 min readJun 5, 2018


(This is a transcript from my morning commentary on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.)

Good Morning Everybody!

I don’t talk a whole lot about Donald Trump on here.

He is so despicable, so foul and problematic, so dishonest… He’s so consistently destructive — and already gets so much air time on every network, every station, every website, every news platform, every social media channel — that I hate using my precious time on air even mentioning his name.

Now hear me — I’m not of the mind that he’s unimportant — of course he’s important — he’s not just a bad reality TV star — he’s now the President of the United States — so what he says and what he does matters — it has consequence.

I just prefer to use my time focusing on solutions, focusing on our stories, but today I must violate one of my own rules.

Yesterday Donald Trump said what I think may be the most dangerous thing he’s ever said since being elected President. Now he’s said many things that were uglier and more offensive. He’s said and done so many offensive things that it can be hard to keep track, but yesterday he literally tweeted that he is above the law and can pardon himself for anything.

No president in the history of our country has ever said this. We’ve had many truly horrible presidents, and some historians suggest that Richard Nixon wondered whether or not he could pardon himself, but even Nixon never announced such a thing and he ultimately resigned before ever attempting to find out if he was able to pardon himself.

I say this all of the time, but it’s hard to understand a moment in history when you are in it. History is best seen and understood and perceived in retrospect, with hindsight, but right now, I assure you we are in a deeply disturbing and utterly problematic moment in American history.

The President of the United States has announced that he is above the law, that he is king, that he is a dictator, not beholden to the Constitution, above any investigation, bigger than prosecution, that he is too important and too mighty for the consequences of his own crimes.

It’s a new low for this President and for this administration. And that’s saying a lot because he keep getting lower and lower, but this is different. This isn’t offensive — it sets a dangerous new precedent and signals to us that he genuinely believes he is completely and totally above the law.

We have moved from democracy to dictatorship.

And of course Trump thinks he is above the law. For his entire life he has been able to say and do whatever he felt like saying or doing — not just without consequence, but he has been able to say or do whatever he felt like saying or doing — and rise up all the way to the position of President of the United States.

16 women have come forward to say that he sexually harassed or assaulted them. In fact, I don’t know of another person in power right now who has been accused of doing more harm to more people, without ever facing a single consequence, than Donald Trump.

His entire life has been a litany of white privilege moment after white privilege moment. Of course he thinks he’s above the law. Every day of his life taught him that. Of course he thinks he can simply pardon himself — he has basically gotten a pass and a hook up for every ugly deed he’s ever done.

I’m deeply disturbed by it.

And here’s how far it has gone — this weekend Donald Trump’s chief attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said something not just offensive, but deeply violent, to show us just what they are thinking. He literally said that if Donald Trump wanted to shoot and kill James Comey — the former Director of the FBI — he could do so — and then pardon himself and be justified in doing so.

Our whole country should’ve stopped right there. Do you understand how outrageous of a threat that is? My God. They are announcing to us that they have no bounds. No checks. No balances. It’s very, very dangerous.

And I’ll close with this thought — after announcing that he can pardon himself for anything — last night Trump told another lie.

First announcing that he was canceling a visit to the White House by the Philadelphia Eagles, he blamed it on all the players from the team taking a knee. But he made that up — that wasn’t even their thing.

Then last night he tweeted and said it was because they were deciding to stay in the locker room during the National Anthem, but I spoke to 7 different players on the team and no decision about that has ever been made. He just made it up — a complete fabrication.

Listen to me — we need to get ready and we need to better organize for the next presidential election. I feel like we’re already behind — to be honest. And if we’re not careful, this man could absolutely win another term.



Shaun King

Husband, Father, Journalist, Activist.