On February 2, 2018, as Hurricane Harvey was approaching the Texas coast, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to Donald Trump asking him to remove the phrase “It’s Just a Formality.”
The statement was intended to highlight Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again.”
“As a former prosecutor, I am outraged by Mr. Trump’s continued efforts to delegitimize our country’s system of justice,” ACLU of Texas attorney, John Morgan, said in the letter to the President.
“Mr. Trump has demonstrated a total disregard for our laws, our constitution, and the rule of law.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Morgan, who has worked tirelessly for more than 20 years to uphold the rule and law, continues to feel compelled to publicly defend the President’s refusal to honor his oath of office,” Morgan said. “
By refusing to remove this phrase from his campaign slogan, Mr. President is putting our nation’s future in jeopardy.”
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Morgan, who has worked tirelessly for more than 20 years to uphold the rule and law, continues to feel compelled to publicly defend the President’s refusal to honor his oath of office,” Morgan said.
“It is imperative that our nation remain united and united in defending our Constitution and our people.”
According to the ACLU, the phrase is “an expression of respect and admiration for the American criminal justice system, the rule, and tradition of law enforcement.”
“I am writing today to urge the President to remove it from his slogan and to cease all efforts to intimidate and silence his supporters, including those who support his candidacy,” Morgan continued.
“This slogan is not intended to denigrate the criminal justice process, nor is it intended to disrespect the people of the United States.
It is an expression of the American justice system and the American people’s reverence for the rule.”
In a tweet on February 4, Trump claimed that the phrase was “just a form of a joke.”
“Just kidding,” Trump tweeted.
“I did not say it was a form or joke.
It was meant to be a compliment to the Department of Justice.
I said that the DOJ will always do the right thing!””
I did say it is meant to a compliment.
And it is, it was meant as a compliment,” Trump continued.
“[But] it was just a joke, really.
It wasn’t meant to say anything about the Justice Department or the rule or justice.
It’s just another form of the joke.
You know that.”
Trump has faced backlash for his comments, particularly after his first presidential debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on October 19, where he called her a “liar” who “was lying.”
The President has faced criticism for not taking the phrase down, and on Wednesday, he told NBC News, “I’m not going to get into a Twitter fight with anybody.”
“What I’m going to do is I’m not trying to bully anybody, and I’m certainly not going out there and being disrespectful, and that’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s been working really well,” Trump said.