Republican Group to Release Ad on 'Fox & Friends' Refuting Trump's Claim of Total Authority: 'You're a President, Not a King'

The conservative group Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL) has created an ad criticizing President Donald Trump's recent assertion that he alone has absolute authority to force governors to re-open their state's businesses shuttered during the coronavirus epidemic.

The ad's tagline: "You're a president, not a king."

The ad, which will air on Fox & Friends on Friday in Washington, D.C. and be promoted across digital platforms, begins by stating, "Donald Trump thinks he is a king," as an explosion reveals a pointed golden crown upon his head.

The video then shows footage from Trump's April 13 White House coronavirus briefing in which he said, "When somebody's the President of the United States, the authority is total."

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"As Americans sacrifice to fight the worst health crisis in a century," the ad's narrator continues, "our governors and local leaders are taking decisive action to protect their communities and reopen the economy safely. But now President Trump thinks he has absolute power to tell states what to do."

The ad then contains footage of CBS News correspondent Paula Reid asking Trump on April 14, "Has any governor agreed that you have the authority to decide when their state opens back up?"

The remainder of the ad shows footage from various parts of the briefing in which Trump said, "The President of the United States has the authority to do what the President of the United States has the authority to do which is very powerful. The President of the United States calls the shots.... The authority is total."

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"No Mr. President," the ad concludes. "You don't have total authority. You're a president, not a king," the narrator declares as the CGI crown upon Trump's head disappears in a flash of smoke.

The 10th Amendment of the Constitution gives U.S. states the right to govern themselves outside of any congressional or presidential powers specifically mentioned elsewhere in the Constitution.

Donald Trump
Republican President Donald Trump pauses during a campaign event. Alex Wong/Getty

"In a democracy, it ultimately falls to ordinary citizens to keep the government's power in check. When officials like President Trump get out of line, it is imperative that we call them on it. It is not an exaggeration to say that the first steps toward a dictatorship are unfounded assertions of power just like President Trump's," Chris Truax, spokesperson for RRL, wrote in a statement emailed to Newsweek.

Truax added that RRL considers Trump administration's response to the coronavirus crisis to be "shambolic, even embarrassing."

"It's absurd for the President to demand new powers to deal with the crisis after he spent almost two months refusing to use the powers that he does have and insisting that no action was necessary," Truax wrote.

RRL was created in 2019 by the conservative political group Defending Democracy Together. Both groups say that Trump has violated the founding national principle that a nation's leader must comply with the law.

"Every time one part of the government—Congress, the courts, the states—tries to hold President Trump accountable, he tells them he's only accountable to another part of the government," the RRL website states.

As evidence, the Defending Democracy Together website cites Trump's refusal to provide evidence during the Congressional impeachment process, his Justice Department's claims that the courts lack judicial authority to restrain his actions and his surrogates' claims that he has the executive authority to shut down any investigations and legally pardon himself and his associates for any doings.

RRL has released several ads over the past year raising concerns about Trump's leadership and urging Congressional Republicans to hold Trump to Constitutional principles.

Republican Group to Release Ad on 'Fox & Friends' Refuting Trump's Claim of Total Authority: 'You're a President, Not a King' | U.S.