Whoopee! The crook got booked.
To be fair, I suppose I should have written, the “alleged” crook got booked. But when has Donald Trump, the former United States president and career meanie, been fair to anyone, at any time?
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That is, of course, a rhetorical question meant to prick the fragile sensibilities of “Don” Trump’s legion of seething followers, who think the idea of civic duty is to parade around in cheap, gaudy T-shirts urging each other to “make a liberal cry” while riding in the cab of flag-draped monster trucks.
Well, liberals and millions of enlightened Americans were, I suspect, crying with unbridled joy and relief as the MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) misanthropes tuned in to Fox News to watch their equally seething and illiterate leader enter a not-guilty plea on a remarkable, pristine, blue, Tuesday afternoon sky in New York City.
The wailing MAGA hats can take some solace in knowing that Trump has finally joined dozens of the thousands of surplus-store camouflage enthusiasts who, on his rhetorical command, breached the Capitol on January 6, 2021: The insurrectionist-in-chief has, like them, been indicted.
Meanwhile, enlightened Americans and I will take happy solace in celebrating this glorious day that, for too long, seemed beyond reach and will always be fixed in history and memory: Trump is the first US president to be arrested – and on 34 felony counts, to boot.
Hip, hip, hooray!
Oh, what a marvellous sight it was as Trump scurried into a midtown court to be arraigned in connection with a not-so-hush-hush scheme to pay a porn star $130,000 to keep mum about a now-historic one-night stand with the philandering presidential candidate. The aim of the cascading cover-up was, according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, to help Trump get elected.
Gone was the trademark tough-guy bravado. Instead, Trump scowled and was silent, even as he attempted to raise his fist in a show of defiance. For once, his big, vile mouth was shut. What a gift and a blessing.
For that alone, Bragg should be rewarded with some kind of medal or the key to the city.
I remember when Trump and his stunt-addicted allies urged their dupes to invade New York to protest the unfolding “witch hunt”. A few dupes showed up and vented, on cue, their ingrained anger. But most stayed home, knowing the last time “Don” Trump wanted them to do his violent, coup d’état bidding, they ended up in the FBI’s crosshairs and the clink.
By my count, the QAnon quacks who travelled to Dealey Plaza in Dallas last November, waiting for JFK Junior’s resurrection, outnumbered the quacks who made it to New York yesterday.
Speaking of jail, “Don” Trump is on a wonderful track to join a host of his “family” members who have been indicted, convicted and shipped to prison. The rogues’ gallery includes Trump’s ex-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, Trump Organization’s ex-chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg and Trump’s ex-consigliere-turned-cooperating witness, Michael Cohen.
But perhaps the most delicious irony of all lies in the fact that Trump was ushered, reportedly, into the same courthouse to face a judge that five innocent Black and Latino teenagers – known as the Central Park Five – were once hauled into in shackles. There, they were coerced into false confessions by corrupt police and headline-thirsty prosecutors.
In 1989, the youths were wrongly convicted of assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park. At the time, Trump took out a full-page ad in the New York Times, demanding, in effect, that the teenagers be executed.
In 2002, all five were exonerated after enduring nine years of prison. True to odious form, Trump has never apologised for the racist-tinged admonition.
Last week, one of the Central Park Five, Yusef Saleem – a candidate for New York City council – issued this delightful and succinct response to Trump’s prosecution on Twitter. “For those asking about my statement on the indictment of Donald Trump – who never said sorry for calling for my execution – here it is: Karma.”
Sure, a string of US presidents should have suffered Trump’s shame and indignity, too. They earned indictments at home and abroad. Still, Trump being held to true and stiff account goes some way in making up for those egregious failures.
And there is the prospect of a slew of charges to come stemming from “Don” Trump’s central role in the cacophonous events of January 6, his leaning on Republicans in Georgia to “find” 12,000 votes to overturn the presidential election, and his hoarding of state secrets at Mar-a-Lago.
So, his legal comeuppance may, in the months ahead, be even more complete and sweet.
Hip, hip, hooray!
Trump is also being challenged in court by a determined woman, E Jean Carroll, a former magazine writer who swears that he sexually assaulted her in a New York department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Carroll is suing Trump for defamation after he denied the assault, saying “she’s not my type”, and insisted she made the claim to boost sales of her book.
Despite the litany of litigation Trump faces, one perpetually dour essayist is convinced that Trump’s indictment is the product of his courageous challenging of America’s imperialist war-mongering and neoliberal fiscal doctrine.
“He is being targeted because he is deemed dangerous for his willingness, at least rhetorically, to reject the Washington consensus regarding neoliberal free-market and free-trade policies, as well as the idea that the US should oversee a global empire,” the essayist wrote at the end of March.
This is where ideology and blindness merge.
My goodness, man, Trump is a 100-percent-proof fascist who has made it plain that if he returns to the Oval Office, he will use the powers that come with the job to make Generalissimo Francisco Franco look like a mild-mannered centrist.
Trump returned to Florida and said something about being indicted. I didn’t watch since, I’m sure, he went on and on and on with his imbecilic, school-yard taunts and incoherent, recycled tirade against his “deep-state” enemies.
Wah, wah, wah.
Finally, a parting word of advice to the familiar roster of cable-news pundits poo-pooing the indictment and worrying that Trump will leverage Tuesday’s unprecedented events into securing another term in the White House: There’s no need to wet your designer pants.
You bunch were convinced that Democrats were going to be walloped in the midterm Congressional elections by Trump’s hand-picked acolytes.
Enlightened Americans proved you wrong in 2022. They will prove you wrong again in 2024.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.