The indignant response of Donald Trump and his GOP allies to his indictment by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg last week has a fundamental flaw, the Washington Post observed Saturday.
“Trump ceded the moral high ground long ago” on indicting former presidents, a WAPO analysis notes. That destroys the argument that Trump and company are advancing now that he's the one being indicted.
“Sometimes it’s explicitly stated, and sometimes it’s more implicit: Indicting a former president and a candidate in the next election is beyond the pale,” the Post characterized the Trump position. “It’s even election 'interference' or the stuff of banana republics.”
Inconveniently for Trump, the Post cited a long trail of evidence from Trump's own mouth pointing to the contrary.
“He has advocated for the prosecutions of each of the last four Democratic presidential nominees — every single one since 2004. In two cases, he did it during the campaign, even suggesting they should be ineligible to run.
"And that’s to say nothing of the many other political opponents he has suggested should be prosecuted. He even, in some cases, actually agitated for that outcome when he held sway over the Justice Department.”
The Post also pointed to the most glaring example.
“The 'lock her up' chant leveled at Hillary Clinton is the most well-known entry in this long succession. Trump at times merely goaded his 2016 rally audiences to go down that road, but at other times he endorsed it. He said late in the 2016 campaign, 'Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail,' and he even told Clinton to her face at a debate that if he were president, 'You’d be in jail.' He added at a later debate that 'she shouldn’t be allowed to run.'
"And Trump didn’t stop calling for prosecutions of top political figures even after a blizzard of accusations rained down upon him in his one-term presidency.
"By 2020, Trump gave a similar treatment to both his predecessor as president, Barack Obama, and his then-opponent, Joe Biden.
"A month before the election, Trump tweeted, 'Where are all of the arrests?' He added: 'BIDEN, OBAMA AND CROOKED HILLARY LED THIS TREASONOUS PLOT!!! BIDEN SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO RUN - GOT CAUGHT!!!'
“'But these people should be indicted, this was the greatest political crime in the history of our country — and that includes Obama and it includes Biden,' Trump added during an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network the next day. 'These are people that spied on my campaign.'
“Trump even indicated that he had made that case directly to his attorney general, William P. Barr: 'And I say, Bill, we’ve got plenty, you don’t need any more' to indict.”