WASHINGTON ― Donald Trump has shown little regard for Republican Party dogma during his presidential bid. But when he called for Hillary Clinton to be drug-tested ahead of the coming presidential debate, it was one of the most Republican things he’s ever said.
“Athletes ― they make them take a drug test, right? I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate,” Trump said Saturday in New Hampshire, adding that he thought Clinton seemed suspiciously energetic at the beginning of the last debate.
Republicans have aggressively championed drug testing as public policy since 2011, though they have targeted welfare recipients rather than athletes.
In either case, the call for testing implies a lack of integrity on the part of the targeted group. If poor people waste money on drugs, the thinking goes, they’re less deserving of government assistance. If athletes cheat with performance-enhancing drugs, they didn’t really earn their victories.
Republicans in at least 15 states have added drug screening requirements to safety net programs since 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seventeen more states have seen additional proposals so far this year. Republicans in the U.S. Congress have also pushed to change federal law to make it easier for states to enact drug screening requirements for various forms of public assistance.
Trump may have been riffing on a pro-Trump super PAC’s ad that suggested candidates ought to be tested. He may also have been mad that Howard Dean accused him of being high on cocaine during the first presidential debate. (Dean later apologized for “using innuendo.”)
Unfortunately for fans of pee tests, the Supreme Court has said that drug testing candidates for higher office would violate the Fourth Amendment.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.