It’s difficult for me to imagine that the Republicans aren’t in trouble right now, but the keyword is imagine. I’m not going to believe anything I read in the media about that. But just as POTUS uses a weather event to argue against climate change, it’s going to be difficult for folks not to do the same with the current stock market adjustment, and there will go conservatives’ one and only argument about why Trump’s “comportment” is not an issue. “My portfolio’s looking good, so Trump’s good.”

Trump Drops the T-Word

Democrats who fail to applaud him aren’t betraying the country.

Updated Feb. 5, 2018 7:47 p.m. ET
By The Editorial Board

Treason by any other name is not defined by refusing to applaud Donald Trump during his State of the Union speech last week. Still, at a discursive speech Monday in Cincinnati that was nominally about the strong economy, President Trump decided to drop the T-word on the Democratic hand-sitters. “They were like death, and un-American,” Mr. Trump said to the Ohio factory workers. “Somebody said treasonous. Can we call that treason? Why not? They certainly don’t seem to love our country very much.”

When politicians start accusing opponents of treason, our former Journal colleague Seth Lipsky has made it a practice to recall that “treason” is defined narrowly in Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution.

Perhaps we should be grateful to Mr. Trump for giving us the opportunity to quote the Founding Fathers: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

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Watching Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer scowl through the State of the Union speech, several words occurred to us: churlish, grumpy, resentful. But treasonous didn’t spring to mind. Mr. Trump’s mind no doubt is filled with smoldering anger because opponents have called him authoritarian, totalitarian, Hitler and insane.

Voters may be getting turned off by the hyperbolic rhetoric of politics, but they’d better expect more of the same. Mr. Trump tweeted Monday that Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee “must be stopped,” whatever that means for a duly elected Member of Congress, while Mr. Schiff accuses Mr. Trump of colluding with Russia based on little evidence. The real treason here, in the non-constitutional meaning, is against normal political debate and reason.

Appeared in the February 6, 2018, print edition.