Donald Trump's fights with fire marshals show why he's dangerous

Twice in a matter of days, Donald Trump has picked a fight with a local fire marshal, accusing these officials of imposing arbitrary, politically motivated limits on how many people may attend his rallies.

On Friday, Trump attacked the fire marshal enforcing the fire code in Colorado Springs (“probably a Democrat,” Trump said) shortly after he been rescued from a stuck elevator by the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

Today, in Columbus, Ohio, he accused the fire marshal of limiting rally attendance to 1,000 people “purely for political reasons,” calling the marshal’s actions as “politics at its lowest.”

On some level, this seems like just another story of Trump getting angry for a trivial reason  — though of course, as any experienced real-estate developer should know, fire codes are not trivial, and capacity limits are set to ensure that safe evacuation in case of a fire is possible.

But the real reason this story matters is what it shows about what Donald Trump would do as president.

Fire marshals are bureaucrats, charged with enforcing laws that are sometimes inconvenient. If Trump won’t listen to a fire marshal who says his proposed number of attendees at a rally would violate a fire code, will he listen to civil servants or military generals who tell him his proposed actions are illegal?

Of course, we already knew the answer to that question: Trump has said military officers will carry out war crimes if he orders them to.

If we give Trump the power of the presidency, he’ll do a lot more than rant to reporters when bureaucrats won’t bend to his will. He’ll order them to ignore laws he doesn’t like. And in some cases, those laws will be much more important than fire codes.

This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.

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