The Note: Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Constitution

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks to the 75th annual AMVETS National Convention in Louisville, Ky., Aug.21, 2019.PlayTimothy D. Easley/AP
WATCH Trump says Jews 'disloyal' to their own people and Israel if they vote Democratic

The TAKE with MaryAlice Parks

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He is not the first and surely will not be the last; like many before him President Donald Trump cloaks himself in the Constitution when convenient and looks for a workaround when it's not.

Within 24 hours, Trump mentioned his support of the Second Amendment to fend of questions about gun-safety reforms, but also seemed to flippantly disregard the Fourteenth.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Wednesday, the president said his administration was "seriously" looking into birthright citizenship, the constitutional right to citizenship afforded to all born on U.S. soil.

"Birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land -- you walk over the border, have a baby – congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen," Trump said. "It's – it's frankly ridiculous."

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks to the 75th annual AMVETS National Convention in Louisville, Ky., Aug.21, 2019. Timothy D. Easley/AP
President Donald Trump speaks to the 75th annual AMVETS National Convention in Louisville, Ky., Aug.21, 2019.

Of course, the president this week has continued to slam those who disagree with him and even suggested a lack of patriotism on their part. It's an M.O. of his that is arguably at odds with any celebration of the freedom of speech granted in the First Amendment.

Side note, looking beyond this week, he has often scoffed at Article 2, Section 2, which gives the Senate the power to approve -- or not -- his appointments.

But in the last few days alone, his love-hate relationship with the Constitution continues to be apparent.

The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema

For a second day in a row, Trump publicly accused American Jews of disloyalty if they voted for Democrats, and said he had not heard criticism of his comments being interpreted as anti-Semitic.

"In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you're being very disloyal to Jewish people and you're being very disloyal to Israel, and only weak people would say anything other than that," the president said Wednesday, when asked by a reporter to clarify to whom Jews were being disloyal.

Trump appears to be seizing on the issue of loyalty as part of a continuing effort to make Israel a political topic and draw lines ahead of the 2020 election. In light of mounting criticism that these comments evoke anti-Semitic tropes, the president's attempts at creating a wedge issue are not as clear cut as he may have hoped. On the campaign trail, not all 2020 Democrats have weighed in on the president's comments, but many of the immediate reactions from his challengers put his own loyalties into question, while also calling out his tactics.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Cory Booker speaks to a crowd at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 10, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. Sergio Flores/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Cory Booker speaks to a crowd at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 10, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa.

"I just find it stunning that we tolerate a person in the highest office in the land that continues to try to divide us against each other, to demean and degrade us," Sen. Cory Booker said at the Iowa Federation of Labor Convention on Wednesday.

Trump's current top-polling challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden echoed those sentiments, and called the president's comments, "a dog whistle."

Meanwhile, Trump's Republican allies have generally stayed out of the fray, and one of his top international allies -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- has remained silent, as well. On Wednesday, Trump campaign chief operating officer Michael Glassner issued a statement defending the president's record but did not specifically defend the president's accusations against American Jews voting for Democrats or mention loyalty at all.

Amid the fallout, Trump is likely to continue to stand his ground, but will have to decide whether this is a worthwhile issue to continue to fight for going into 2020.

The TIP with Will Steakin

On Thursday, the Trump campaign will rev up its on-the-ground efforts to mobilize suburban women in key battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, with a string of cross-country events featuring high-profile speakers from the president's orbit.

It will be the first major push for the Trump campaign's "Women for Trump" coalition, with over a dozen events set to be headlined by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and others. The campaign is framing the rollout around the 99th anniversary of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote.

PHOTO: A fairgoer holds up a Women for Trump at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 11, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
A fairgoer holds up a "Women for Trump" at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 11, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa.

And with suburban women representing a key voting bloc heading into the 2020 election, the campaign's push this week provides the first glimpse at their strategy to win women voters who helped swing the 2018 Democratic gains in the midterm elections. Women accounted for 53% of voters in the 2018 midterm elections, voting for Democratic House candidates by 60-39%.

The campaign plans to pitch the economy as a core selling point for women voters, even as the president continues to dismiss signs that the U.S. economy might be inching closer to a recession.

ONE MORE THING The upcoming third Democratic primary debate, hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision and slated for Sept. 12 and 13 in Houston, will feature four moderators: Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, "World News Tonight" Anchor David Muir, ABC News Correspondent Linsey Davis and Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos. The debate will be held at Texas Southern University, a public, historically black university, and will air across ABC, Univision with a Spanish translation, locally on KTRK-TV and on ABC News Live.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Thursday morning's episode features ABC News Senior National correspondent Terry Moran, who explains why officials are warning that ballooning deficit numbers could signal larger problems for the economy. Then, ABC News' Jordana Miller has the view from Jerusalem after President Donald Trump's controversial "loyalty" remarks about Jewish voters. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" Podcast. President Donald Trump is proposing internment camps for migrants detained at the U.S./Mexico border, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said on ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. His new book, "America Is Better Than This: Trump's War Against Migrant Families," is centered around his account of visiting detention facilities on the southern border. On the podcast with ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce, Merkley also responds to a portion of ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl's interview with Cindy McCain, who talked about how the late-Sen. John McCain worked with Democrats to help craft an "extensive fix to a broken immigration system." https://apple.co/2v6tkuR

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Donald Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Robert Cousy.
  • Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Salt Lake City at 10 a.m. (MDT)
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., campaign in New Hampshire.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg campaigns in Maine.
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke campaigns in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., campaigns in Minnesota.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. campaign in various cities throughout California.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Booker speak at the Democratic National Committee iWillVoteGala in San Francisco.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

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