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Tuesday, May 30, 2023
May 30, 2023

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Estrich: Trump’s crime inciting violence


‘What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?”

That’s what Donald Trump wrote on his social media site when he thought he was about to be indicted last week for paying hush money to Stormy Daniels to cover up his affair with her in the closing days of the 2016 campaign.

“Death & destruction?”

“Catastrophic for our Country?”

Shades of Jan. 6, when five people were killed and 140 police officers were injured.

That was catastrophic for our country.

What could be more fundamental than the principle that no one — including a former president who got more votes than any sitting president and is the leading Republican candidate for his party’s nomination — is above the law?

In fact, I happen to agree that of all the investigations and potential indictments, the Stormy Daniels of it all is the weakest of the group.

I’d much prefer to see the former president indicted for inciting the violence on Jan. 6 or for trying to interfere with the election results in Georgia or for hiding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, than for paying hush money to a mistress, which is not, inherently, criminal, unlike the rest of what he has done.

But to again incite violence with fighting words is, in my book, worse than the payoff itself.

So is trying to undermine the rule of law.

Days later, in his rally in Waco, Texas, Trump again made his legal problems the central theme of his campaign.

He attacked the rule of law, decrying the “weaponization of our justice system” after having branded the Black district attorney of New York as an “animal” and calling himself “the most innocent man in the history of our country.”

According to Trump, “The abuses of power that we’re currently witnessing at all levels of government will go down as among the most shameful, corrupt and depraved chapters in all of American history.”

“They’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you,” he said.

If Trump has taught us one thing, it is the power of fighting words and the danger of one man in a position of power casting himself as being above the law.

And he will not and does not stop.

As a Democrat, I couldn’t be happier.

Every time Trump opens his mouth and says something outrageous, he makes himself that much more unelectable.

Yes, he fires up his crowd, with their signs of “witch hunt,” but at the same time he reminds the majority of Americans who don’t support him of all the reasons why we don’t want to turn back the clock to Jan. 6 and the terrible days of the Trump administration.

If there is one person that we can count on Joe Biden to beat, it is Donald Trump.

But as an American, it hurts my heart.

This kind of talk is bad for our country, bad for the rule of law, bad for respect for the law, bad for our national well-being.

It turns politics into an ugly blood sport; it can only lead to angrier and angrier rhetoric, and that rhetoric can easily translate into violence.

We have seen that happen. We know what it looks like. And yes, we know exactly who to blame.

Maybe Trump is right that his base of supporters would not care if he committed murder on a busy street in New York.

But at some point, someday, even that base must wake up and recognize a man who is dangerous to all we hold dear.

He is not the most innocent man in the history of our country.

He is, every time he opens his mouth, one of the most dangerous.