BY RICHARD C. GROSS
“Imagination is the only weapon in the war with reality.”
— Lewis Carroll, the Cheshire cat in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
The “American carnage” of a purveyor of lies, fantasy and hate — his campaign strategy for president three times since 2015 — finally has met reality.
He again is trying to play victim in the 45-page grand jury indictment by pumping the vague construction of a mythical “Deep State” “witch hunt” to persuade his millions of followers to believe in his crusade. Richard the Lionheart he is not.
The twice impeached, thrice indicted lying fool, who ignored the advice and counsel of his lawyers, aides and family members, has been charged with four counts of conspiracy related to his role in the violent Jan. 6, 2021 attempted coup beginning right after the 2020 election. He lost it to Joe Biden while he still was president.
The case against a former president is unprecedented, an American tragedy that’s nearly unbelievable in its scope for what he is accused of doing against his great country and “we the people.”
Yet the loser has the unmitigated gall to run for president for the third time, no conscience required. And at least one other indictment is waiting backstage: Georgia, where Trump is on tape urging officials to “find” 11,708 votes for him so he could flip the election there in his favor.
“All I want to do is this,” Trump told Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recorded phone call, according to The Washington Post. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”
The evidence is right there.
“Donald J. Trump,” the indictment read, “did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with co-conspirators . . . to defraud the United States by using dishonesty, fraud, and deceit to impair, obstruct, and defeat the lawful federal government function by which the results of the presidential election are collected, counted and certified by the federal government.”
The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the federal government function by which those results are collected, counted and certified.”
That’s heavily serious stuff. If an ordinary individual was convicted on those charges, it could mean lengthy prison terms. If Trump is convicted, he may escape prison because of his position as president from 2016 to 2020.
He became more popular after having been indicted twice, polls show. His standing after this third indictment may make him more popular. Part of the reason may be because the MAGA folks believe his repeated claims of a “witch hunt” and that he’s done nothing wrong.
The latest Times/Siena poll shows Trump 30 points ahead of his closest competitor for the 2024 Republican primary election, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. DeSantis’ doddering campaign isn’t getting much traction.
Indictments or no, Trump is still at being Trump, using his Truth Social website to fire blasts at the Justice Department. The New York Times described him as “angry and unsettled” because of the latest indictment, but that seems not to curb his instinct to criticize the authorities or those he doesn’t like.
He of course pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at a DC federal court Thursday.
The former president compared the indictment to “Nazi Germany in the 1930s, the former Soviet Union, and other authoritarian, dictatorial regimes,” he wrote on his website, the Times reported.
“These un-American witch hunts will fail and President Trump will be re-elected to the White House so he can save our Country from the abuse, incompetence, and corruption that is running through the veins of our Country at levels never seen before,” he wrote, referring to himself in the third person.
The indictment included six co-conspirators who helped Trump carry out his duplicity with lies and plans who were not identified. But reporters picked one of them from the indictment’s description of him as Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who served as Trump’s personal lawyer.
After the indictment Tuesday, Trump told his supporters on his social media site they shouldn’t trust the prosecutors.
“Why didn’t they do this 2.5 years ago? Why did they wait so long? Because they wanted it put it right in the middle of my campaign Prosecutorial Misconduct!”
All of this could have been avoided if the Republican Senate had followed the Democratic House in 2019 and had voted to impeach Trump on charges he pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to find dirt on Joe Biden.
Zelensky refused. So, Trump withheld a promised shipment of weapons to Ukraine as revenge. What a Lovely guy.
More recently, how is it that an arrogant, ignorant and increasingly insufferable flame thrower of a former president can publicly, at a rally in Erie, Penn., July 29, call Biden a “dumb son of a bitch” and get away with it? His party of fools created a monster, feeding his narcissistic swollen ego without reprimanding him.
The reason: Trump has tens of millions of followers who voted for him and probably will vote for him again. That’s all it takes and is why Republican politicians fear him and don’t dare to cross the bully. And he knows it.
At the rally, he went off about migrants at our southern border, lying and throwing out bull crap to get applause.
He claimed the migrants are “people from mental institutions, insane asylums,” “people from jails and prisons” and “terrorists” are “invading” America, The Daily Beast reported.
“All of these people, who are very ill, who are very sick, sick people, these are mentally ill people, they’ve been emptied out,” presumably from their countries, he said.
His Republican Party, or what remains of its backbone, should find sticks for its members and all should bite down hard on them and throw Trump out. Let him run as a third-party candidate, fend for himself. He deserved all of those indictments. And more is to come. And, if convicted, he should be barred from running for public office ever again.
And this joker wants to be president again? C’mon.
Richard C. Gross, who covered war and peace in Israel, was assigned to the Pentagon, was foreign editor of United Press International and was the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.