Every columnist and their editor is weighing in on Donald Trump’s federal cuffing. I suppose it’s incumbent on yours truly to also throw in my one-and-half cents. (The other half-cent to be expended on Simpsons references and Pokémon analogies, obviously.)
What choice does a poor public-affairs chronicler have? I can spill ink on the latest happening, or polemicize Ralph Ellison’s sublime race symbolism of spilled milk and coal oil in honor of Juneteenth. What’s your pleasure, choosey reader? As ol’ Ponty asked another baying audience, which do you want me to address? A substantive and urgent topic related to our fastly deteriorating commonweal? Or Trump, whom is called the MAGA king?
*Readership cheers and heckles and bellows for Trump.* Very well. I am innocent of the former president’s spray tan. You, dear audience, bear responsibility for the following.
To start with a question: how else should Trump’s indictment over squirreling away state secrets be addressed other than with everyone’s favorite acknowledge-by-dismissal tactic known as whataboutism?
A presidential candidate being legally hounded by his elected rival is “not normal,” to borrow the libs’ screechy phrase. Trump has the distinction of being the first twice-impeached prez. Now he’s racking up criminal charges at a dizzying and droogy rate. Only two months ago, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg stretched a statute beyond recognition to bust Trump for a minor campaign finance violation, complete with a whopping 34 felony charges. Now the entire federal legal apparatus is putting the screws to its former boss. The DOJ upped the f-count to 37, this time for concealing troves of “classified” information.
Allow me to swat down a few inane arguments shooting around social media from both hyper-partisan corners. Trump fallacy #1: the previous president stockpiled a Staples store’s worth of privileged info for nefarious, even treasonous, reasons. *Bizzzzz*. Wrong. Trump wasn’t offering up Pentagon plans on defending Taiwan to Xi Jinping on eBay. The erstwhile water hawker isn’t the criminal mastermind the left lets rule their imagination. The 45th president is a shallowly simple guy: C.J. Ciaramella’s “my boxes” theory is the only heuristic necessary for understanding the “why” behind the crime. Why did Trump insist on lugging binders full of B-52 bombing runs? Because they’re his. QED.
Trump fallacy #2: our put-upon president didn’t commit any crime, but also Joe Biden and Mike Pence are guilty of the same thing. *Bizzzzz*. Wrong again. While it’s true both Biden and Pence kept, knowingly or inadvertently, confidential communiqué, both cooperated with bureau-suits to return the outstanding material. Trump didn’t play so nice. Rather, he initiated a long-running round of going-to-Jerusalem with dozens of paper-supply boxes, and not just with nosy g-men, but his own counsel.
Lastly, Trump fallacy #3: it’s a legal oxymoron for Trump to retain classified papers because the president retains unquestioned declassification authority. *Bizzzzz*. Nice try! Trump—foolishly and uncharacteristically—admitted in audio that a sensitive attack plan he retained was still under TS/SCI lock-and-key. To paraphrase another Queens mogul, divulging delinquency on record ain’t gangsta.
And, just for kicks, I’ll tack on Trump fallacy #4: the Orange Bad Man is finally getting his wall. Too bad he’s going up against it! The skeevy traitor is charged with sedition! *Bizzzzz*. Unfortunately for bloodthirsty liberals savoring statutory assassination, this isn’t Rosenbergs redux. As Andrew McCarthy details, Trump was arraigned on non-seditious charges that stem from the Espionage Act of 1917. But let’s not get bogged down in minor facts so much that we can’t enjoy blaring headlines like “Trump Charged With Sedition Act!” Where would the fun, and the coin-jingling ad impressions, be in that?
In this ninth—maybe eighth?—season of Trump Takes America, the screenwriters have provided indisputable evidence the main
proantagonist ran afoul the law. Trump selfishly, sleazily, sloppily, and shortsightedly stored government secrets like a withered recluse stacking newspapers. Then, like a sixth-grader hallowing a first-edition shadowless Charizard, he stroked his own ego, displaying the material to esteemed guests of his beach club, like Kid Rock. Was the American Badass really impressed by the badassery of a former president hiding Iran coup schemata in his commode?
Trump broke the law; in a country founded on equality under the law, he should face due consequences. To put a finer point on it, our hoarder-in-chief was given ample opportunity to come clean and escape prosecution. Instead, he took the advice of HGH-billboard and Judicial Watch honcho Tom Fitton, who insisted Trump can David the Goliathan deep state by sheer power of stubbornness. Now the former head of the richest country on earth can’t find an attorney who will touch him with a ten foot pole.
That tedious exposition out of the way, here’s comes the cynical kicker: the rule of law is applied unevenly in America. Big, world-jolting revelation, I know! Two things can be true: Trump impulsively broke the law, and other presidents and political grandees have gotten away with worse. Prosecutorial discretion is a real thing, and was used in the case of Hillary Clinton retaining classified material on her kludgy, linen-closet email server. A proximate of non-prosecution was invoked when the Obama administration granted immunity to CIA waterboarders. And Ford let Nixon off the hook, of course. (After a bunch a crew of conspiring cronies set up the son of Yorba Linda first.)
America has a long history of presidents pardoning predecessors, excusing the excesses of ex-executives, and not rocking the line of elected succession. The Biden administration is saying to hell with cordial Oval office club, siccing the feds on his main opponent. We’ve entered hic sunt donkeys territory.
And all over what? A miniscule portion of not-for-public 8.5x11s gathering dust at an oceanside resort? In the scheme of state chicanery, how significant is Trump’s insecure brandishing of restricted documents, many of which are undoubtedly dated? Federal paper-pushers secrete 50 million docs a year. Whatever memo Trump has socked away detailing in-field instructions of how U.S. Special Forces surreptitiously slip Russian school children “This Book Is Gay” has probably been revised and replaced a hundred times by now. As Tucker Carlson put it in a blistering monologue, “Washington is a city where internal memos about Labor Day are classified.”
Consider recent governmental malfeasance: duly elected congresspeople simping for Chinese spyware; our Benny Hill-style au revoir from Afghanistan that left $7 billion in weaponry behind for the Taliban; the negligible attention paid to human and narcotic traffickers along the southern border.
Or the criminal coup de grâce of the century: the Iraq war, which despite the thousands of lives lost, the trillions of dollars blown, the countless cultural hallmarks extinguished, nobody has gone to prison for.
In a just country, Trump might briefly serve time in the Gitmo block reserved for the entire Bush war cabinet—Condi, Karl, Cheney, and all. Instead, it’s Fox News contributorships and Denver Broncos ownership stakes for the Iraq War engineers and binders for the blundering buffoon who used bureaucratic records as home decor.
The two-tiered justice system remains our national inheritance. Justice for some, no justice for others, and miniature American flags for everyone else!