Skip to main content

Salon - March 25, 2022

Trump floods the zone with so much bizarre and unconventional behavior for a public figure that it becomes difficult to discern the difference between what is criminal, what is unethical and what is merely performance. In fact, his behavior is so extraordinary that I think it's convinced many of his followers that he must not be guilty of doing anything nefarious simply because he is so open about it. It's a neat trick.

I have written many pieces over the last few years about Donald Trump's criminal culpability and I've always believed that if he's never held accountable for any of it — either his shady business dealings or the numerous crimes against the Constitution that he committed while he was president — the nation may never recover. Trump's corruption is so blatant that if he gets away with all of it, it's impossible to see how there can be any more pretense of equal justice under the law.

Having said that, I've also written more than once that I'm just not optimistic.

Trump floods the zone with so much bizarre and unconventional behavior for a public figure that it becomes difficult to discern the difference between what is criminal, what is unethical and what is merely performance. In fact, his behavior is so extraordinary that I think it's convinced many of his followers that he must not be guilty of doing anything nefarious simply because he is so open about it. It's a neat trick. 

I suspect this also spooks the legal system. He cultivated a combative public persona long before he entered politics. There was plenty of evidence that he was doing some extremely corrupt business deals, from running cons on unsuspecting marks to money laundering to doing backchannel deals with terrorist states for years. But there was a sense that nobody could be as ridiculously flamboyant as he was and still be a criminal. His clownishness was a form of shield. 

As a politician, he's exchanged that for something much more powerful: tens of millions of committed followers who have, in turn, cowed out the entire Republican establishment and allowed Trump to beat back two impeachments. And then he leveraged that power to incite a violent insurrection in which those followers stormed the Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power. ...
Read full report at Salon