From a Thursday editorial in The Washington Post:
There is a danger that Americans have become so inured to President Donald Trump’s indifference to rule of law that they forget how a president who respected public service and the Constitution — and had nothing to hide — would speak and behave. In the interest of jogging memories, we have matched a few of Trump’s Wednesday comments to the New York Times with imagined quotations of what an ethical president might say.
What Trump said: “Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else. … I think [it] is very unfair to the president.”
What an ethical president might say: “Jeff Sessions was very involved in my campaign, so of course he had to recuse himself from any matters having to do with my campaign. Once it came out, after his confirmation, that he had given inaccurate testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his meetings with Russian officials, it was doubly a no-brainer.
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“And frankly, if he hadn’t recused, I would have called him up and said, ‘What are you waiting for? We can’t have the slightest appearance of impropriety in my administration!’ ‘’
What Trump said: “I then end up with a second man, who’s a deputy … and that’s Rosenstein, Rod Rosenstein, who is from Baltimore. There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any.”
What an ethical president might say: “Fortunately, we had in place a highly respected deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who consistently in his career has had the support and respect of senators and other politicians from both parties.
Question: Last thing, if [special counsel Robert S.] Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?
What Trump said: “I would say yeah. I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don’t — I don’t — I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows?”
What an ethical president might say: “You know, I don’t think I should say anything about what Mueller should or shouldn’t do, because his independence is paramount. But let me just say this: I’ve got nothing to hide. Whatever he wants to look at, he is welcome to look at, and the sooner the better.”