Pennsylvania state Senator Daylin Leach is drawing some criticism today after posting some heated words against Donald Trump via his Twitter account. According to Philly Voice, Senator Leach, who represents Montgomery County, a suburban area northwest of Philadelphia, was reacting to Donald Trump saying he would “destroy” a Texas lawmaker’s career due to the lawmaker’s intention of putting forth a bill that would require a conviction before authorities could force a civil forfeiture. Under current laws, law enforcement in many states can take possession of a suspect’s cash or personal property even before a charge for the alleged crime is filed.
According to Politico, Trump met with sheriffs from various states for a listening session involving the fight against crime, where Sheriff Harold Eavenson of Rockwell County, Texas, asked the President a question about civil asset forfeiture.
“On asset forfeiture, we’ve got a state senator in Texas that was talking about introducing legislation to require a conviction before we could receive that forfeiture money,” Eavenson said. “And I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed.”
Donald Trump’s reply drew laughs from the room, though Trump himself was not laughing, according to Politico.
“Who is the state senator? Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career,” Trump said.
The flippant remarks by Trump drew a strong reaction from Senator Daylin Leach, who was not present at the meeting but read the remarks after they were reported by the press. The post is still viewable on Leach’s Twitter account, but due to the language used, a censored version is quoted for this article.
“Hey @realDonaldTrump I oppose civil asset forfeiture too! Why don’t you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, s**t-gibbon!”
— Steve Hoenstine (@stevehoenstine) February 3, 2017
The arguments for civil asset forfeiture rest on the belief that it is an effective crime-fighting tool, especially when used against gangs and cartels. The arguments against the practice revolve around their constitutionality, specifically regarding the concept of due process as found in the 5th and 14th amendments to the US Constitution.
There is also a serious issue with civil asset forfeiture abuse. The ACLU has a page on asset forfeiture abuse on its website, as does the libertarian think-tank, the Cato Institute, so it’s not simply a “left” vs. “right” issue that divides cleanly down party lines. It’s understandable why Leach might be disturbed by the sitting President saying he will “destroy the career” of a lawmaker for disagreeing with him on such an issue.
The term “fascist” has a specific meaning, of course. Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, was a fascist. His philosophy was based on extreme nationalism and military expansionism. When Mussolini got power his goal was to pass laws to effectively make himself a dictator, according to The Federalist in an article arguing that Trump is definitely not a fascist.
“A year after the 1922 March on Rome that put Mussolini in power, he passed the Acerbo Law, which guaranteed a two-thirds parliamentary majority to the party that managed to secure 25 percent of the vote,” John Daniel Davidson of The Federalist writes.
“The law effectively ensured Mussolini could rule as a dictator. Two years later, public meetings of opposition parties were banned, and eventually all rival political parties and newspapers were banned in Italy.”
The extent to which Daylin Leach believes such extreme measures are within Donald Trump’s purview are not clear, but since he most likely doesn’t believe Trump’s face is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines in the cucumber family or that Trump is literally a feces ape, we can assume he was being hyperbolic in using the term “fascist” as well.
Daylin Leach has become just the latest in a long line of lawmakers, entertainers, pundits, and everyday citizens venting over what they see as Donald Trump’s executive excesses. Given Donald Trump’s penchant for making provocative statements, Daylin Leach will most certainly not be the last.
[Featured Image by Matt Rourke/AP Images]