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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Refusing responsibility

As always, Trump blames his legal troubles on everyone but himself


One might anticipate that sitting through weeks of a criminal trial, in which 20 witnesses and reams of documents pointed to your guilt on 34 felony counts, might encourage at least a few moments of self-reflection, perhaps even humility.
Instead, as has been his hallmark from his earliest days, Donald J. Trump walked from a Manhattan courtroom and did what he always does: accepted no responsibility for his actions.
In Donald Trump’s world of make believe he was simply a victim, of a president and a prosecutor out to get him, of a judge determined to tip the scales of justice against him, and of 12 jurors hand-picked to find him guilty.
What Donald Trump faced, in reality, was a brief moment of accountability in a life during which he has repeatedly skirted the law and the ethical constraints that most of us learned in kindergarten. President Joe Biden had nothing to do with the case, despite Trump’s lies to the contrary. Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg held Trump to the same standard as the more than 10,000 other business owners who had been prosecuted in New York over the past ten years after having been caught falsely reporting financial records. The judge administered the trial fairly, at least according to the throng of reporters who regularly attended the trial. And the 12 everyday Americans who made up the jury weighed the evidence and their jury instructions, came back with questions, and ultimately determined what was obvious to anyone who had followed the trial and the evidence presented at all closely– that Donald Trump had engaged in a conspiracy to cover up negative news stories about his interactions with women and caused his company to falsify business records to cover it up.
Others involved in the scheme had already faced the consequences. Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, spent several months in prison in part for facilitating the scheme on behalf of the Trump campaign. American Media Inc., which then published the National Enquirer, had to acknowledge their involvement and guilt in the conspiracy in an agreement under which publisher David Pecker agreed to testify truthfully in exchange for not facing prosecution. That testimony proved devastating to Trump’s case.
Trump, despite his repeated lies to the contrary, could have taken the stand and refuted Mr. Pecker, and Mr. Cohen, and Ms. Hicks, and the many other witnesses who testified to his involvement in the scheme. But he couldn’t do so without adding a possible perjury charge to the mix.
Trump is no victim. He is a perpetrator and an abuser, utterly incapable of introspection, who has never taken responsibility for a single self-inflicted wound in his entire life. Everyone else is to blame. “I’m a very innocent man,” Trump claimed, laughably, shortly after the jury unanimously found him guilty on all counts.
Unusually, Trump did say one true thing in the aftermath of the verdict. “We don’t have the same country anymore,” he stated– and how right he is on that score.
In the country most of us grew up in, a hush money pay-off to a porn star, or the denigration of military Veterans as “suckers,” or the incitement of a coup to maintain one’s grip on the presidency, would have been game over for anyone’s political career.
A convicted felon as the presidential nominee of a major party? Not in the America we once knew.
Trump, as always, lays the blame for the devolution of America on others. Yet, it is Trump, who campaigns on nothing but grievance and resentment fueled by falsehoods who has done more to undermine faith in America than anyone in this nation’s history. He has poisoned the minds of countless people in this country through his relentless lies, which are regurgitated by his sycophantic supporters, and it has changed our communities and our collective sense of self to an astonishing degree. By constantly repeating false stories about the 2020 election and wallowing in disrespect toward the basic institutions created by the Constitution, including the courts, Trump has changed America in ways many of us never would have believed possible.
Trump accuses President Biden of seeking to divide the country, but it is he who has torn families and communities apart with his vitriol and his falsehoods. Yes, for many of us, the country we live in today is unrecognizable, and Trump bears significant responsibility for that fact. But, like everything, Trump portrays himself as blameless. He’s just an innocent victim.
It’s difficult to imagine a man more out of touch with reality.