Former Defense Secretary William Cohen on Friday called out President Donald Trump’s violent rhetoric about anti-racism protesters, warning the White House is “leading us down the trail toward a dictatorship.”
Cohen argued to CNN “Newsroom” host Jim Sciutto that Trump’s sharing of a letter that called protesters “terrorists” meant that “he has no understanding of what the rule of law really means in this country.”
“He has declared that he wants to be the ‘president of law and order,’ but that’s not what the declaration of this country is,” said Cohen, the GOP former senator for Maine who headed the Pentagon during Bill Clinton’s administration.
“If you go over to the Supreme Court, you see cut in stone, it is equal protection or equality under law, equality under law,” he explained. “So when he says law and order, he’s missing something. The word ‘justice’ has to be there, and that is what people of this country expect when they sign a contract with the U.S. government, that there will be laws, there will be justice, and so law and order.”
Cohen then recalled a professor once telling him that “liberty without order is a mess, but order without liberty is a menace.”
“What I see taking place is the White House engaging in very menacing activity and leading us down the trail toward a dictatorship where it is only the law of rule, not the rule of law,” he added.