President Trump, AG Barr Defend America and Founding Principles on Constitution Day

We've reached a point in our history where, to the mainstream media and liberals, the values of freedom and liberty, so fundamental to our nation, have become controversial and even "racist."  In honor of the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the Constitution today, both President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr gave strong defenses of America's founding principles, which are enshrined in the Constitution.

President Trump spoke at the National Archives and announced the creation of a commission to promote civic education.  He denounced the left's assault on American values:

On this very day in 1787, our Founding Fathers signed the Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It was the fulfillment of a thousand years of Western civilization. Our Constitution was the product of centuries of tradition, wisdom, and experience. No political document has done more to advance the human condition or propel the engine of progress.

Yet, as we gather this afternoon, a radical movement is attempting to demolish this treasured and precious inheritance. We can’t let that happen. (Applause.) Left-wing mobs have torn down statues of our founders, desecrated our memorials, and carried out a campaign of violence and anarchy. Far-left demonstrators have chanted the words “America was never great.” The left has launched a vicious and violent assault on law enforcement — the universal symbol of the rule of law in America. These radicals have been aided and abetted by liberal politicians, establishment media, and even large corporations.

Whether it is the mob on the street, or the cancel culture in the boardroom, the goal is the same: to silence dissent, to scare you out of speaking the truth, and to bully Americans into abandoning their values, their heritage, and their very way of life. . . . The radicals burning American flags want to burn down the principles enshrined in our founding documents, including the bedrock principle of equal justice under law. 

Attorney General Barr spoke last night at Hillsdale College's Constitution Day celebration and described how our government's structure and the Constitution's respect for the rule of law are crucial to protecting liberty:

When many people think about the virtues of our Constitution, they first mention the Bill of Rights.  That makes sense.  The great guarantees of the Bill of Rights—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms, just to name the first few—are critical safeguards of liberty.  But as President Reagan used to remind people, the Soviet Union had a constitution too, and it even included some lofty-sounding rights.  Ultimately, however, those promises were just empty words, because there was no rule of law to enforce them.         

The rule of law is the lynchpin of American freedom.  And the critical guarantee of the rule of law comes from the Constitution’s structure of separated powers.  The Framers recognized that by dividing the legislative, executive, and judicial powers— each significant, but each limited—they would minimize the risk of any form of tyranny.  That is the real genius of the Constitution, and it is ultimately more important to securing liberty than the Bill of Rights.  After all, the Bill of Rights is a set of amendments to the original Constitution, which the Framers did not think needed an express enumeration of rights.

President Trump's proclamation today echoed Attorney General Barr's analysis of the importance of the governmental structure outlined in the Constitution (emphasis added):

In the summer of 1787, fifty-five delegates from throughout the fledgling United States gathered at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, intent on erecting a government that would stand the test of time and protect hard‑won freedoms secured during the Revolutionary War.  Two hundred and thirty-three years later, the document they produced — our Constitution — remains the bedrock of our system of government, one rooted in equality under the law and an unyielding commitment to individual liberty.  On this day and during this week, we celebrate our great founding charter as an enduring beacon of freedom and strive toward active citizenship in service of its ideals.

With profound wisdom, the Framers of our Constitution divided political power among three separate and coequal branches, and further between the Federal and State governments, ensuring that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people would remain accountable to its citizens, from whom all legitimate political power is derived.  Our Constitution outlines a government that encourages individuals to flourish while still empowering the state to perform necessary functions like protecting law and order and providing essential public goods.  This revolutionary concept has made and continues to make our Nation the most free and just society in the world.  Because its principles are timeless and rooted in truth, our Constitution has fostered freedom at home, as well as the liberation of countless oppressed peoples around the world.  In the more than 2 centuries since its ratification, it has served as an unparalleled engine for human progress.

A key feature of our Constitution is an independent Federal judiciary, which helps safeguard its structure and ensure individual rights.  In Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton describes the proper role of the courts as keeping the legislature “within the limits assigned to their authority,” handing down decisions in accordance with the principle that “a constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law.”  In reverence of the wisdom of the Founders, I have made it a top priority to nominate to the Federal bench only those judges who have demonstrated a commitment to enforcing the Constitution as written.  To date, I have nominated and the Senate has confirmed more than 240 judges who will faithfully adhere to this foundational judicial principle, including two incredible Supreme Court Justices.

Thank you, President Trump and Attorney General Barr, for explaining how the American system of government protects liberty.  Under their leadership, we trust that defending the Constitution can once again become normal in America.  Happy Constitution Day!