Republicans' fantasy Constitution: Trump and the "phony emoluments clause" - 2019-10-28
Donald Trump's recent criticism of the "phony emoluments clause," used in defense of his since-abandoned G7 scam, was striking for its bluntness. But it's part of a long history of conservatives flagrantly ignoring the actual Constitution and substituting an imaginary version in its place. At Vox, Ian Millhiser thoroughly debunked the notion that Trump wasn't violating the Constitution by seeking to hold a summit meeting at his own hotel, including reference to work by Georgetown's John Mikhail, whose examination of 40 different dictionaries made mincemeat of any "public meaning" argument to try to defend Trump.
Of course Trump doesn't care about such arguments, and doesn't rely on typical conservative legal arguments either. But he does rely on the underlying conservative impulse and assumption that the Constitution means whatever he wants it to mean, and that anyone who disagrees with him is subversive.
This view can be found in the so-called "constitutional sheriff's" movement, which believes that county sheriffs get to pick and chose which laws to enforce and can keep federal law enforcement agents out of their counties. Tellingly, the word "sheriff" — like the word "God" — doesn't even appear in the Constitution. Trump's favorite convict sheriff, Joe Arpaio of Arizona, is a member of this movement. The far-right "Oathkeepers" movement has a similar fantasy-based view of the special constitutional status of anyone who's sworn an oath to serve the government — and who then decides they've got a secret identity as a Supreme Court justice.