Can you imagine a president of the United States — a man sworn to faithfully execute his office and preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution — publicly announcing a vendetta against one of those states?
With Donald Trump as president, you don’t have to imagine.
The rub here is that the presidential oath of office qualifies that vow with the modifier “to the best of my Ability” — a commodity in short supply in this particular president.
The incident in question happened at the White House today at a press event where the president was announcing the launch of a new initiative supporting America’s farmers.
A jocular Trump casually threw in a threat against the state that borders the nation’s capital, telling the assembled crowd of agricultural executives and reporters that he would be going after Virginia because of that state’s Democratic governor’s attempts to pass sensible gun regulations — or as Trump puts it, taking away your Second Amendment.
Trump’s familiarity with the agricultural output of Virginia seems to be as limited as his awareness of anything outside his bubble as he joked that “you’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes” once he finishes “going after Virginia.”
If there is anything Virginia is known for in the 21st century, it's our brutal potato wars. https://t.co/UoArbtM9rY
— Gary Legum (@GaryLegum) May 19, 2020
Virginia, on the other hand, doesn’t even break the top 10 among states with potato crops, growing a measly 200 thousand pounds of the vegetable each year, and barely eking into the top 10 cash crops in a state where marijuana and tobacco head the list in the top two positions.
In other words, unguarded potatoes would hardly be the disastrous threat that the president paints it out to be in his threat.
Exactly why Trump chose the humble potato as his target of supposed theft risk as opposed to soybeans or corn, both of which individually account for three times the value of potatoes in Virginia’s agricultural economy, is unknown.
Perhaps because every Big Mac he eats is accompanied by an extra-large portion of fries, the potato has a special place in Trump’s consciousness and holds a special value to him. Still, he didn’t mention tomatoes or lettuce which are also a part of every standard Donald’s McDonald’s meal.
Nonetheless, the very idea of a president announcing that he’s out to “go after” a state verges on unconstitutionality and treason. It also indicates that Trump may have all but given up hope of winning Virginia’s electoral votes in the upcoming election.
After his performance during this pandemic, he should give up hope altogether and simply resign now.
How do you like them potatoes, Donald?
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.