By John Avlon
Updated 10:55 AM ET, Wed June 24, 2020
(CNN)”Treason.” That’s what President Donald Trump accused Barack Obama of committing in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network Monday night.
With Trump’s daily diatribes it’s easy to shrug this off as just the latest insult. But no American president has ever publicly accused a predecessor of treason. It is a serious specific charge that often carries with it the penalty of death. And while Trump and his team use the word promiscuously, they also seem to fundamentally misunderstand its meaning.
Team Trump seems to think “treason” is about personal disloyalty. That’s fitting for a president who sees everything through the lens of self-interest. But the charge of treason is actually about betrayal of the national interest in pursuit of self-interest. And that’s a definition that may hit closer to home in the Trump administration.