President Donald Trump claimed in a speech on Tuesday that Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives him the right to do whatever he wants as commander in chief. This is incorrect though, as that part of the Constitution simply outlines the executive branch, how the president wins an election, the executive's powers and its relationship with the other branches of government.
TRUMP: "Then I have an Article 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president."
(Article 2 does not in fact empower the president to do whatever they want.) pic.twitter.com/qIFP1AbHw6— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 23, 2019
"I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president," Trump said during his Turning Point USA conference speech, as he began talking about former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. "But I don't even talk about that because they did a report and there was no obstruction."
Trump previously suggested Article 2 would have allowed him to fire Mueller, but he chose not to after he saw what happened to President Richard Nixon after he fired people during the Watergate investigations. He told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that he believes a president cannot obstruct justice.
"A president can run the country. And that's what happened, George. I run the country, and I run it well," Trump said.
Article 2 does not really give the president the power to do anything without approval of Congress, although presidents have used executive orders to enact policy. The section of the Constitution describes how the president is selected through the Electoral College, the president's powers and gives the president the ability to call for both houses of Congress to convene.
The Constitution says that presidents can draft treaties with foreign powers, but a two-thirds majority of the Senate has to approve it. The president also appoints judges and other public officials, but they also need Senate approval. The fourth section of Article 2 describes the impeachment process to remove presidents and other officials.
Twitter users quickly criticized Trump for suggesting that the Constitution gives him the power to do anything. Some suggested the quote meant Trump seriously believed the Constitution gives him almost dictatorial powers.
“Article 2.” pic.twitter.com/9NlIQ8QpAQ— Scott Monty (@ScottMonty) July 23, 2019
Me trying to find the part of Article 2 that gives the President unlimited power. pic.twitter.com/tEjUKTRbVm— Melissa Morales (@Melissa_In_FL) July 23, 2019
Also, someone must have explained what Article 2 is in the last couple of weeks because he's been talking about this as though it's some hidden provision in the constitution and not, you know, the entire description of the executive branch as a whole.— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) July 23, 2019
Fuck is he talking about?— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) July 23, 2019
If the President had unlimited powers, Article 2 wldn’t exist. Constitution’s a punchline and a clown horn now. He’s too ignorant to know how vapid he is. And Republicans & all of his supporters are, too, or just couldn’t give a shit. Garbage vaudeville. https://t.co/gpnIG8x8Aa
Turning Point USA is a conservative advocacy organization, which hosted the Teen Student Action Summit at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. this week.
Photo credit: ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images