The 45th President of the United States has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury. As I understand the process, that means 16 members of the jury determined that there was sufficient evidence to allow the district attorney to bring formal changes against Donald Trump. With the exception of the single fact that the defendant formerly held the highest elective office in the land, it’s nothing that doesn’t happen a thousand times a week in jurisdictions around the country.
The MAGA wing of social media has, predictably, erupted with cries of political persecution, false narratives, attempted distractions, and allegations of misconduct from everyone from the prosecutor to the sitting president. Collectively the usual talking heads of that movement have claimed almost everything – except that their guy is actually innocent. It’s a rare tweet indeed that asserts Donald Trump simply didn’t do the things of which the State of New York is accusing him. I’ll leave you to make of that what you will.
Under the American justice system, all criminal defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence. It’s the obligation of the prosecutor to prove them guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. You won’t see me making an assertion of guilt here. I wasn’t in the courthouse and wasn’t privy to the evidence presented to member of the grand jury. Nor, outside the crashing gong of social media, have I heard the arguments for the defense. My opinion is, at best, informed by widely available reports and, at worst, colored by the overwhelming contempt in which I hold both Donald Trump and his fellow travelers who have consumed the Republican Party.
The MAGA activists and I agree on one thing, though – this indictment and tomorrow’s arrest and arraignment of the 45th President of the United States is absolutely a low water mark in our politics. How they and I arrived at this assessment, though, are based on wildly differing views of what constitutes embarrassing, egregious, and criminal behavior. History, the kind written a hundred or so years from now, long after tempers have cooled and the actors have all left the stage, won’t be particularly kind to the brand of abject fuckery that Trump and his most devoted followers have wrought. Unfortunately, we’ll be watching this uniquely stupid story play out in real time for the rest of our lives – regardless of whether he’s found guilty by a New York jury or not.