THE COLUMN: The Leaving of It
Donald J. Trump, most recently the 45th president of the United States, may—to use the favorite phrase of the New York Times—"make history" this week by becoming the first chief executive ever to be indicted after leaving office. Not for anything he did while in office (that would be unconstitutional, although at this point what difference does it make?) but for... wait for it... paying $130,000 in hush money to a hitherto unknown "porn star" to keep quiet about an alleged one-off sexual tryst in 2006.
Now a transaction, however trashy and unsavory, between consenting adults 17 years ago, which became a political issue in 2018 (you remember that; it was in all the papers), is hardly the crime of the century. The rogue local prosecutor, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr., is ostensibly in charge of this precedent-shattering miscarriage of justice, but everyone knows he's just a front man for the brains of the outfit, including his deputy, social-justice warrior Meg Reiss, the Clintons, and, ultimately the Biden White House.
In the brave new world of the Panopticon, anything you've done at any time your life from birth and the present can now bring you down, the corrupt cur media baying at your heels.
The alleged crime, which has something to do with campaign financing laws involving how Trump reimbursed his sleazy former lawyer and recent jailbird, Michael Cohen, who was the front man on the deal. You may rightly think that such a charge—a philandering playboy businessman paying a woman who, as a working professional, will have sex with anybody for money—is right up there with spitting on the sidewalk or picking your feet in Poughkeepsie. And cooler heads may yet prevail if, as rumored, Cohen's own former legal adviser, Robert J. Costello, appears before the grand jury today to shred what little is left of Cohen's credibility.
But when that man is named Trump...
Trump broke the news of what he said was his impending arrest tomorrow via social media (all caps his):
THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!
“IT’S TIME!!! WE JUST CAN’T ALLOW THIS ANYMORE. THEY’RE KILLING OUR NATION AS WE SIT BACK & WATCH. WE MUST SAVE AMERICA!PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!”
That is the last thing anybody should do. Or didn't we learn anything from the Jan. 6 fiasco, which has landed hundreds of innocents in what JJ Sefton, the morning blogger at Ace of Spades, has taken to calling the Garland Archipelago. The Left's inability to ever stop (they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit) because the dictates of Marxist "progressivism" make it impossible for them to stop, means that should protests get even a little bit out of hand, the red-diaper babies and their amigos in the media will view it as the next Reichstag Fire, starring conservatives as the hapless Marinus van der Lubbe, and act accordingly.
There's no question but that the Bragg/Reiss tag team is trying to provoke a confrontation with their absurd legal theories about the Trump/Daniels frolic, but one of their additional goals is to fan the flames of the Trump/Ron DeSantis rivalry. There's been talk of ringing Mar-a-Lago with Trump supporters and demanding that Ron DeSantis call out the Florida National Guard to prevent Trump's possible extradition. Already, the lunatic fringe is frothing:
I’m not surprised @GovRonDeSantis has remained silent all day over the news of Trump possibly being arrested. After all, DeSantis knew Mar-a-Lago was going to be raided by the FBI, but he chose to NOT warn President Trump.— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) March 19, 2023
That speaks volumes about who Ron DeSantis really is.
Still, even Loomer has reconsidered her firebrand stance on her hero's "Protest!!" demands:
Because I don’t want there to be any issues, upon further thought, it’s best people don’t show up to rally in front of Mar a Lago on Tuesday. I have deleted the rally post, & I believe it’s best for people to promote President Trump’s first official 2024 rally in Waco instead.— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) March 18, 2023
Waco—that's not incendiary or anything.
DeSantis would be smart to say nothing about Trump (as indeed he did not in this statement today), but instead to issue a warning about the unprecedented political chutzpah of Democrat stooges arresting and trying not only a former president but a current candidate for the office again. Despite Trump's constant whining about how the Florida governor "owes" him "loyalty" for Trump's endorsement back in 2018, DeSantis owes Trump bupkis; as Mr. Dooley famously said, politics ain't beanbag and nobody owes nobody nothing once the bell sounds.
🚨Breaking News: Governor DeSantis makes statement on Trump potential indictmentpic.twitter.com/tNOtkGwhIn— The Calvin Coolidge Project (@TheCalvinCooli1) March 20, 2023
But what should Trump do? If and when he's arrested, or voluntarily surrenders, he should take the high road. He should utterly reject Bragg's legitimacy or authority to bring charges against him, that on behalf of all living former presidents and all future presidents he will not be a party, on constitutional grounds, to a precedent-setting farce, to wit partisan attempts to use a local legal system to affect the outcome of a national election and in defiance of the will of the people.
And then he should say "not guilty" and just walk out. No speeches to the media, no preening, no playing to the crowd, but instead cloaking his worst instincts in the solemnity of his demeanor. He should not encourage the people to rally to his side, but instead play the martyr, and let his bloody shirt wave itself.
Another Ace co-blogger, CBD, makes these valid and troubling points:
A Trump arrest will galvanize his support and re-energize his struggling campaign for president. And why would the Democrat-Socialist apparatus want this? Maybe because they WANT to run against Trump in 2024. They see Donald Trump's electoral college success with a hard ceiling of about 235 votes, but fear DeSantis or some other new, young and nimble Republican candidate as a much stronger opponent who can savage the Democrat candidate (Biden or some other malleable vegetable) without having to deal with the baggage of the fake January 6th issues and personal peccadilloes that can overwhelm more substantive advantages.
So this is a twofer for the Democrat-Socialist machine. They continue their long march through our institutions, destroying everything in their path, and they solidify their political hold on the country by manipulating a flawed candidate into contention for the Republican nomination.
Be careful what you wish for: I think Trump is likely to be defeated by any Democrat at this point, but then again that's what everybody thought in 2016, when I thought otherwise, and said so in the pages of the New York Post. And it's possible, just possible, that he's learned enough from what happened to him in 2020 to make him competitive.
What he should not do is this:
Can Trump control himself in this crisis? He recent dog-in-a-manger behavior regarding the presidency, his childish attacks on DeSantis, and his deteriorating command of the English language, don't offer much hope:
REMEMBER, THE SAME ANIMALS AND THUGS THAT WOULD DO THIS TO PERHAPS 200 MILLION PEOPLE, BUT ACTUALLY ALL AMERICANS, ARE THE COMMUNISTS, MARXISTS, RINOS, AND LOSERS THAT ARE PURPOSEFULLY DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY!
He'll be 78 at the time of the next election, and if we've learning nothing from Joe Biden then we're even dumber than Robinette himself. To slightly paraphrase Malcom in Shakespeare's Macbeth: "Nothing in his presidency/ Became him like the leaving it." Nothing would become Donald Trump, half-Scottish himself, more than a principled, defiant—and above all peaceful—exit from the national stage.