'Poor, persecuted Trump': Journalist mocks GOP hysteria
After the FBI executed a search warrant at Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago in South Florida on Monday, August 8, it didn’t take long for countless Republicans — from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to Trump himself — to describe the former president as a victim of Democratic persecution. Washington Post opinion writer Paul Waldman takes a look at these reactions in his August 9 column, brutally mocking the “poor, persecuted Trump” narrative and slamming Republicans as hysterical whiners.
“In his recent speeches,” Waldman observes, “Donald Trump has taken to saying that he is ‘the most persecuted person in the history of our country.’ The millions who lived and died in slavery? Native Americans who endured the Trail of Tears? Sure, they suffered. But did they get kicked off Twitter?”
Waldman continues, “Now that the FBI has executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, the former president can indulge what has become his most important impulse, his driving motivation, his very reason for being: to whine and complain. The gleeful enthusiasm with which his party has rallied to his defense shows how invested Republicans have become in Trump’s personal narrative of oppression — one that is notable for its distance from anything that might affect the lives of the Americans whose votes Trump might soon be seeking again.”
The Post columnist notes that Republicans, following the FBI search, have reflexively leaped to Trump’s defense and echoed his persecution narrative without even knowing why the FBI’s search warrant for Mar-a-Lago was authorized.
“Let’s keep in mind one vital fact about the FBI’s action Monday: No one you see commenting on this matter — not the angry members of Congress, TV hosts or the pundits aplenty — knows precisely what crime the Bureau is investigating or what evidence was presented to the judge who approved the search warrant,” Waldman explains. “That hasn’t stopped Trump’s defenders from assuming that he can’t possibly have done anything that would justify the search. After all, we know how careful he has always been about following rules, particularly with regard to classified information…. The nearly universal GOP response has been that the search can only have been politically motivated, despite the fact that no one commenting knows what the FBI was looking for or what it found.”
Waldman cites specific examples of how overwrought and over-the-top Republicans reactions to the Mar-a-Lago search have been. For example, Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee tweeted, “I stand with President Trump against this outrageous action of the FBI.” And Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted, “The Biden Admin has fully weaponized DOJ & FBI to target their political enemies,” while McCarthy declared, “The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization.”
“On Fox News,” Waldman notes, “the hosts and guests all but lost their minds in rage…. Meanwhile, Republicans immediately began using it in fundraising appeals. There’s no question that this was an extraordinary action for the Justice Department to have taken, which is why it’s almost certain that it came after lengthy deliberation and in the belief that a crime, or multiple crimes, had been committed.”
Waldman adds, “The Department had to be fully aware of the political firestorm that would erupt. Attorney General Merrick Garland is hardly some kind of hothead, and the other top Justice Department officials likely to have been part of the decision-making aren’t the collection of knaves and buffoons Trump had gathered around himself.”
The message Republicans are sending out, Waldman argues, is that “Donald Trump should be above the law.”
“His defenders see no higher purpose than shouting that Donald Trump is the greatest victim we have ever known, and nothing could be more important than freeing him from his oppression,” Waldman writes. “Some seem positively elated at the possibility that this will help Trump’s 2024 bid to win the White House. But to believe that, you’d have to think the American electorate will rise up to defend poor, persecuted Trump, no matter what crimes he might have committed, and sweep him back into office for no reason other than his personal victimization. Let’s hope that isn’t true.”
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