Following the fall of the Nazi regime, and at the Nuremberg trials, certain German defendants — including concentration camp guards and bureaucrats — raised a famous defense: “I was just following orders.”
I noticed recently that Trump and Republican have invented a new variant of the defense: “I was just giving orders.”
This is most obvious in the border-dispute area where Republicans have (like a mantra) sought to recast criticisms of the administration’s border-immigration policies into an attack instead on the individual border guards themselves. Thus, with their perfect blend of cynicism and deceit, Republicans have turned a morally wrong defense (“I was just following orders”) into an absolution and distraction benefitting the policy makers (“Hey, I was just giving orders”).
A perfect example of this new argument was provided by R. Gov. Rick Scott on the most recent Meet the Press. The following has been edited to show how this has become a committed Republican talking point: