By Margaret Kimberley, BAR Exec. Editor & Senior Columnist

June 5, 2024  Black Agenda Report

 

Donald Trump is often portrayed as the worst president of all time and now his criminal conviction has made him the butt of many jokes. But his legal troubles may not prevent him from winning again. The worst crimes he and other presidents committed make hush money payments pale in comparison.

“No one is above the law.” – Joe Biden

““The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous” – Joe Biden

Apparently some individuals and nations are above international law and are exempt from any requirements that it be obeyed. Joe Biden’s statement about no one being “above the law” was directed at Donald Trump when he was convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records. The leaders of the Israeli government, a major U.S. client state, have no such need to follow laws, even those which prohibit the commission of war crimes. Of course Israel’s patron is no different, leaving an ignominious trail of carnage from Haiti to Iraq to Yemen to Libya to Afghanistan and to Somalia, a list of wrongdoing for only the last 20 years.

Cynical political calculus and manipulation of public opinion makes Donald Trump the object of scorn and derision after he was convicted of a 34-count crime of very dubious legitimacy. Trump, in his usual incompetent fashion, used his equally incompetent attorney to pay off an adult film actress with whom he had a tryst. This private peccadillo might have been worthy of finger wagging and smirks, but desperate democrats wanted to keep Trump from running for the presidency again. The case is one in which prosecutorial discretion might have won the day and kept Trump out of court. But Trump is public enemy number one for the simple reason that he refuses to go away and insists on running for president again.

As a former president himself, Trump should have been charged, but as a war criminal. To name but one such offense, his administration’s sanctions imposed against Venezuela deprived that nation’s citizens of access to food and medical care and killed an estimated 40,000 people in 2017 and 2018 alone. That type of crime is one for which Trump will never be punished, nor will any of his predecessors or his successors. United States presidents have de facto immunity for killing thousands of people with bombs, bullets, proxy wars, and sanctions too.

While Trump is pilloried for being caught in a scandal, Joe Biden has worked with the Israeli government to kill an estimated 40,000 people in Gaza. Along with his bipartisan accessories in congress, he has continued to allocate billions of dollars for genocide and war crimes. Occasionally he may engage in a public relations effort and pretend to be angry with Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s leadership or claim that a peace agreement is in the works when it isn’t, but he will always come up with political support and money, some $12.5 billion since October 2023. The genocide would end if the U.S. wanted it to, but supporting Israel has been a consistent position for every U.S. president since 1948, from Harry Truman to Joe Biden.

Unlike the mass death he and other presidents have wrought upon the world, Trump’s real crime is considered unforgivable. He was, as some say, “unfit” for the office of the presidency but not in the way that statement is usually made. Trump had no experience in public office, and far from being the super successful businessman of his imagination, he was a self-promoting huckster whose companies filed bankruptcy six times .

Trump didn’t come from the right schools or have the right friends in the political class, but he knows how to connect with the masses of white people in this country. That political acumen combined with Democratic Party hubris to give him an electoral college victory in 2016. The ruling class quickly got over any hesitancy they had about him when he delivered on the tax cut they had been wanting for years. His lack of skills and his unwillingness to admit when he should seek out advice has been his undoing and his sore loser tantrum on January 6, 2021, sealed his political fate.

And yet Trump remains a force in U.S. politics, with most Republicans still supporting him. In fact he raised $53 million after his guilty verdict was announced. Lest anyone forget, in the 2020 election he received more than 74 million votes , a record for a losing candidate. That loyalty has tied the hands of that party’s leadership and they literally cannot get rid of Trump. Democrats are afraid of a 2016 repeat, with Biden being either heartily disliked or resented because he was marketed as the “most progressive president since FDR” who would “cut child poverty in half .” The advertising was false and the 80-year old doddering president only has support from those who are die hard Democrats or who hate Trump so much they feel obliged to vote against him.

Trump has also been indicted in three more cases which the establishment hopes will keep him out of office. But a large enough minority of voters believe he has been treated unfairly and may yet vote for him. A weakened Joe Biden might not be able to repeat his 2020 victory.

Late-night talk hosts and social media meme generators are having the proverbial field day with Trump’s conviction. Yet the rule of law that they claim to venerate has been thrown out the window by Biden and congress. Bipartisan leadership invited Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address congress for the fourth time in his political career. The man who thumbs his nose at international law on genocide and war crimes will have the red carpet rolled out yet again while jokes are told at Trump’s expense.

In this country the laws of white supremacy and capitalism rule the day. It is disgraceful that Trump is the first president to be convicted of a crime because he should not be alone. There are many criminals among the 46 presidents of the United States but none of them had any reason to fear the long arm of justice. Trump is in fact an outlier. He commits crimes that the system will not protect.

 

-Margaret Kimberley is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents.