Let’s stop treating Trump’s indictment as if he were a normal ex-president

Donald Trump
Donald Trump Photo: Gage SKidmore

Donald Trump really likes Al Capone. As recently as January, Trump whined that he had more lawyers than “the late great gangster Alphonse Capone,” a weird salute to a mobster responsible for hundreds of murders, including the Valentine’s Day Massacre.

But after his arrest yesterday, Trump is probably identifying all the more with Capone, who was finally brought down on tax evasion charges. After a lifetime of flouting the law right and left, Trump is facing 34 felony counts for hushing up having sex with porn star Stormy Daniels.

Yet there’s a lot of handwringing that the case against Trump is flimsy and that Trump shouldn’t have been indicted. While Trump shouldn’t be above the law, he shouldn’t, as one pundit put it, be beneath it either.

And those are the liberals.

The right wing sees Trump as nothing less than Jesus Christ enduring his own Stations of the Cross. While the Bible says Jesus offered comfort to society’s outcasts, including prostitutes, it makes no mention of him hooking up with them and then paying them off to keep their mouths shut.

Trump’s indictment underscores just how different the two sides of the political spectrum are. Trump and company would gleefully manufacture any excuse to punish their enemies. (Remember “Lock her up”?) Democrats meanwhile fret that a legally valid case may have crossed a line because it’s not the kind that prosecutors usually bring. Democrats insist on bringing a fly swatter to a knife fight.

In fairness, the goal isn’t for Democrats to mimic Trump’s authoritarian impulses. But we can also stop pretending that Trump deserves some special kind of treatment simply because of the office that he held. Yes, it’s a historical first to have an ex-president indicted. But let’s not measure Trump by the office. The mistake the media makes about Trump is that they treat him as if he’s just like another politician, when he is anything but.

Trump has always been a flim-flam man. The wonder is that he wasn’t indicted a long time ago, well before he ever became president. He has been ignoring the law for years – bankruptcy law, tax law, and all kinds of laws related to grifting.

Yesterday’s indictment is really just an appetizer. The main courses are still waiting to be served. Trump faces far more serious charges for trying to overturn the election results in Georgia and for refusing to turn over documents, including highly classified ones, that he took from the White House after he lost re-election.

Trump is so unmoored from reality that he believes that the indictment will work to his benefit. And in the Bizarro world of the GOP, it may for a little while. Out of fear of alienating the party’s base, even Republicans who despise Trump feel the need to come to his defense. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom many in the party had hoped would be the Trump slayer, has seen his poll numbers fizzle as Trump sucks up all the media oxygen.

Of course, if being indicted once gives your campaign a boost, imagine how far into the stratosphere Trump will launch when he has multiple indictments under his belt. In his estimation, there will be no stopping him.

Fortunately for Trump, there is no restriction for running for president while under indictment. Unfortunately, the orange prison jump suit that he could be wearing would clash with his makeup.

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Here’s what Trump’s indictment says & why the entire case against him could crumble

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