Does Trump Belong In Prison -- Or A Mental Institution?

Does Trump Belong In Prison -- Or A Mental Institution?

Former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago

Photo by Ricardo Arduengo/REUTERS

I remember when a politician who expressed an easily debunked, crackpot conspiracy theory would be through in public life. Indeed, it took a whole lot less than that.

Just 20 years ago, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was more or less hounded out of the race after emitting what TV news producers deemed an inappropriately loud cheer at an Iowa campaign event.

Dubbed “The Scream,” the event was broadcast on network and cable TV a reported 653 times over the next four days. Late-night comic Jay Leno joked “the cows in Iowa are afraid of getting mad Dean disease,” and that was pretty much it for the Vermont governor’s campaign. (Reporters on the scene found nothing odd about it; TV monitors had greatly amplified the sound.)

But times have changed. Only last week, a presidential candidate accused a political rival of conspiring to have him murdered, and the general response was “So what else is new?”

Needless to say, that candidate was Donald Trump, who delivered a screed on his Truth Social network claiming that “Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, in their Illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE.”

The Trump campaign followed up in a fundraising email with the all-caps headline: “BIDEN’S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME!” The message claimed Biden was “locked & loaded ready to take me out.”

Trump loyalists everywhere echoed the claim — and they will continue to do even after their hero was found guilty on all counts in his “hush money” case. The candidate’s willing propagandists on Fox News gave the story big play. Sean Hannity and the rest feigned shock and outrage. Never one to miss a chance to fly her own freak flag, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., posted on X (formerly Twitter) “The Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate Pres Trump and gave the green light.”

In real life, of course, making public such delusional allegations could lead to a person being confined to a psychiatric hospital for their own protection. In Trump World, however, pretty much anything goes. Hardly anybody thinks the candidate himself actually believes half the crazy things he says — not for more than a few hours anyway, before he’s on to the next damned thing. The only constant is that everybody’s out to get him, the Universal Genius and the Greatest Man in the World.

You do have to wonder, however, about the deluded followers who send him money. Are they in their right minds?

Search warrants have boilerplate language about force

In reality, of course, the FBI agents who searched Mar-a-Lago for the thousands of pages of classified documents Trump had illegally taken from the White House, refused to return and repeatedly lied about having in his possession did everything possible to avoid encountering him.

They deliberately scheduled the action for a day when the great man was 1,000 miles away in New York, notified the Secret Service in advance and were escorted onto the property by Trump’s protectors. They carried a search warrant duly authorized by a federal magistrate. Everything was done scrupulously by the book.

The simple, easily verified fact is that all FBI search warrants, every single one, everywhere in the United States, include boilerplate language empowering agents to respond with force if physically attacked while doing their jobs.

The idea that the FBI and the Biden White House were scheming to execute Trump is simply preposterous. Indeed, it’s already old news. The candidate himself has already dropped the idea and moved on. Fox News quit talking about it after 24 hours.

Indeed, Trump attended a NASCAR event in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Sunday — an odd thing to do for a man claiming the president of the United States meant to have him whacked. There he reverently saluted the playing of “Amazing Grace” as if it were the national anthem. It’s tempting to wonder if he knows the difference.

Of course, if President Joe Biden did something so peculiar as to salute a hymn, we’d never hear the end of it. The great paradox of Biden as depicted by Trumpers is that he’s a doddering old man who can barely speak coherently.

“Why isn’t Joe Biden here speaking to you tonight?” Trump asked a crowd of Libertarians he addressed recently. “You know why? Why isn’t he? Because he can’t put two sentences together.”

In the next breath, Trump depicted his rival as the ruthless boss of the “Biden Crime Family” scheming to have him assassinated and masterminding “a toxic fusion of the Marxist left, the deep state, the military-industrial complex, the government security and surveillance services and their partners all merging together into a hideous perversion of the American system.”

Oh, and Biden, the feeble old-timer, is also a “fascist” who, if reelected, means to “put Christians in prison for 11 years for the crime of singing hymns.”

Why 11 years, I really can’t say.

Reprinted with permission from Chicago SunTimes.

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