It’s time to Break It Down!
We have grown accustomed, if not weary of the seemingly never-ending litany of firsts that former president, and current GOP front-runner for his party’s nomination, Donald Trump, is amassing. It all started innocuously enough. In 2016, he became the first person without either government or military experience to be elected to the office of U.S. President. Yesterday, Trump became the first President or former President to be found liable for sexual abuse and defamation.
Ms. E. Jean Carroll alleged that Trump assaulted and raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1996. A jury of six men and three women reached a unanimous verdict, finding Trump liable on both charges. They did not issue a finding of rape, which Ms. Carroll had also claimed. They awarded her $5 million in damages. For his part, the former President called the verdict a “disgrace, and a continuation of the greatest witch-hunt of all time.” He vowed to appeal.
Over the course of the trial, Mr. Trump opted not to appear in court. Under NY law, that choice was available to him, since it was a civil, rather than a criminal case. He did offer video testimony. During that testimony, Mr. Trump, at one point, mistakenly confused his former spouse Marla Maples with Ms. Carroll. When he was asked to identify individuals in a picture he cited an individual as Maples, who turned out to be Carroll. This was an important SNAFU on a couple of levels. Trump maintained he did not know and had never met Carroll (even though there are photos of them next to each other). He also dismissed the claim, adding that Ms. Carroll was not his type. That dis strained credulity, when he pointed to Ms. Carroll, as someone to whom he had been married.
At the end of the day, after nearly two hours of jury instructions from the Judge, it took only about an hour and a half for the jury to deliberate and reach a verdict. Unanimously!
This was not Trump’s first rodeo. Just a month ago, he was arraigned, and charged with 34 felonies by the Manhattan DA. Last August, an FBI raid at his Mar-A-Lago compound yielded several boxes of classified documents. The States of New York and Georgia have pending cases, with the New York case already on the docket for October. And who could forget, he was impeached? Twice! Last, but not least, the piece de resistance, he was at the center of the insurrection/coup attempt on January 6, 2021.
Please understand, this is not an exhaustive list from the Trump dossier. He didn’t just start being a character, after being elected President. While campaigning, he declared he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and not lose any voters. Way, way before, being elected, he bragged about grabbing women by the genitalia, and further editorialized that when you’re a star, they let you do it. There are numerous other pre-election inflammatory comments and deeds, but for the purposes of this post, that’ll do it.
After his election, it didn’t take long for Trump to find his groove. Inauguration Day was January 20, 2017. It was on this occasion, Mr. Trump exclaimed with great, even if misplaced, pride, that his was the largest inauguration crowd ever. There was only one problem with that assertion. The National Parks Service which takes aerial and ground photographs of major crowd events in Washington, DC, especially Presidential Inaugurations, released photos comparing the Trump Inauguration and Obama’s 2009 Inauguration. Based on the pictorial evidence, it was clear that President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration drew a larger crowd. A few days later when Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, defended Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s attempts to validate Trump’s claim, she extemporaneously employed a term of art, when said Mr. Spicer, and by logical extension, Mr. Trump, had cited “alternative facts.” Never mind that an alternative (not a fact) fact is a lie, or an untruth, or generously, a fallacy.
To say Donald John Trump is an atypical politician is not a stretch. Any other pol with a fraction of the issues that Trump has cobbled together would be an afterthought by now. But no, not Donald. According to most recent polling (before yesterday’s decision, he was the leading contender for the GOP nomination. Indeed, after the Mar-A-Lago raid, he got a boost in polling. I don’t expect this instance to land any differently. His supporters know who he is, and they like him, just like he is. Remember, you heard it here first. “Another Day, Another First: As Usual, Not a Good One!”
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