“The lawyer with the briefcase can steal more money than the man with the gun.”
— Vito Corleone
What do former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have in common with former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Attorney General Eric Holder, actor Robert DeNiro, billionaire philanthropist George Soros, U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters and Debbie Wasserman Shultz, and the staff at CNN’s headquarters in New York?
That’s right: They’ve all been demonized and/or identified as enemies by the president of the United States, and last week they all were targets of some new Mad Bomber who had mailed crude pipe bombs to their homes or offices. None of the bombs actually went off, but let’s not forget that the Obamas have two young daughters, who also became potential targets. (Fortunately, this Mad Bomber, whoever he or she may turn out to be, was less successful than the original, George Metesky, who had a beef with Consolidated Edison and terrorized New York from 1940 to 1957 by planting 33 bombs, 22 of which exploded, injuring 15 people. He died in 1994, in Waterbury.)
Obviously, Mr. Trump didn’t send these new bombs. For one thing, he’s far too busy bloviating about his enemies via Twitter and stirring up his rally crowds to hate the press (“Fake news!”) and Hillary Clinton (“Lock her up!”) and Democrats in general (“Angry mob!”). But, just as obviously, he inspired them. He set the tone for all this nasty and violent talk (and now violent action) starting in 2016, when he encouraged his rally crowds to beat up protesters, sometimes promising to pay their legal bills. If there were a contest for dragging political discourse in this country down to the lowest possible level, there’s no question that his red-faced rantings would win the blue ribbon.
As for the Democrats being a “mob,” look who’s talking! The real estate empire of La Famiglia Trump was started by his dad, Fred, who used what have been called “suspect tax schemes” to get rich, dodge the tax man, and move hundreds of millions of dollars into little Donald’s coffers, starting when he was just a toddler. Reports of the Trump businesses stiffing contractors who worked on their buildings are legendary. In the 1970s, Trump and his father were charged by the federal government with racially discriminating in their housing projects. In the 1980s, Trump threatened to move homeless people into 100 Central Park South in order to drive elderly tenants out of their rent-controlled apartments so he could turn the building into Trump Parc East. It was an offer they couldn’t refuse. His daughter’s company flagrantly flogged a $10,800 bracelet after Ivanka wore it on “60 Minutes,” just days after the 2016 election. Later, White House aide Kellyanne Conway plugged Ivanka’s fashion line on national TV. And Trump hotels and resorts take in millions from foreign governments that would like some leverage with the president of the world’s only superpower — emoluments clause or no emoluments clause.
Meanwhile, he pulls “facts” out of thin air, as needed, or out of his hat, or out of his … wherever.
But nine days from now we can send the Don a message. So that’s something.
Reach Glenn Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org.