The drama over the indictment of ex-President Donald Trump on 34 criminal charges, of which he declares to be “not guilty,” has shown that democratic processes continue to work and that no one in the United States is above the law. But at the same time, it captures the danger that this democracy is confronting when the accused, his followers, and the very Republican Party to which they belong, continue to undermine democracy by attacking the judicial process, just as they attacked elections when the result was not in their favor.
Those who support Trump are showing, through their ideological blindness, that they are less concerned about preserving the U.S. democracy as we know it, and would rather make some businessman?who has tried to use any method of protection available in the constitutional realm to avoid being tried for all of the crimes he is accused of, and they are many?become the executor of the values and principles of the political plurality on which this nation is founded.
For example last week, before the indictment had even been revealed, the upper leadership of the Republican Party, both inside and outside Congress, had already sided with Lieutenant Trump, accusing the Manhattan prosecutor’s office of “political persecution” and “abuse of power.” From the Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, to the ex-Vice President Mike Pence?the same man the Trumpist mob wanted to hang in the Capitol on January 6, 2021 for not yielding to Trump’s pressure to refuse to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election that Joe Biden won?parroted the same line, that the Manhattan prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, is “abusing his power” in order to persecute Trump politically.
It’s the same Republican song and dance they have been using to prepare the ground, with the goal of continuing to open space for the extremism that Trump emanates, since he announced his presidential candidacy in 2015, accusing immigrants of all the country’s ills and maligning minorities through his rhetoric?to the point of even classifying them as “bad hombres.” But the only thing that remains clear today, with 34 charges against him, is that the real “bad hombre” seems to be Donald Trump, who will be judged by an immigrant of Colombian descent, Judge Juan Manuel Merchán.
This Tuesday, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, one of Trump’s staunchest defenders, famous for disseminating white nationalist conspiracy theories, attended a pro-Trump rally in Manhattan, but ultimately left because the noise of whistles and boos against the ex-President drowned her out, according to press reports. It was further reported that, in an interview with Right Side Broadcasting, Taylor Greene compared Trump to “Nelson Mandela” and “Jesus Christ.” Taylor Greene said, according to reports, that “Jesus was arrested and murdered by the Roman government.”
Could there be any greater audacity and contemptible criticism than Greene’s, trying to make historic comparisons to figures who have walked paths that are diametrically opposite to the cynicism, bravado, misogyny, lies, cowardice, and racism of a character like Donald Trump, who will be remembered as the worst ever in the history of the United States?
Although Senate Republican leaders have so far stayed away from the topic of Trump’s indictment, the fact that the upper leadership of the House of Representatives and of the party continue to defend the ex-President denotes the level of power this figure has, in the lead up to the selection process for the next Republican presidential nominee.
In fact, his approval ratings in the midst of this legal process have improved, and his campaign revealed that when the charges last Thursday were announced, the Trump campaign raised $7,000,000. That amount of money, which has surely increased as the days go on, says a lot about this segment of the U.S. population that is still following this ideological fraud, whose anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric has been echoed by other Republican figures and led to the massacres in El Paso and Buffalo.
All of this is significant because those Republican figures who continue to defend Trump are the same ones who continue to declare that the 2020 general elections were “fraudulent,” that the election was “stolen” from Trump. And they are the same ones who continue to minimize Trump fanatics’ January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which ended with death and destruction.
They are the same ones who have remained undaunted by this attack on democracy, a deliberate attempt at a coup d’etat based on falsehoods; and the same ones who now call the criminals who participated in the assault and brutally attacked police officers “political prisoners.” They are the same ones who continue minimizing the evidence against Trump and attacking judicial processes; the same ones who have dedicated themselves to disseminating conspiracy theories of all types, from electoral fraud to claiming that we are being “invaded” at the border with Mexico.
They are the same who have wanted to turn an ex-President who has actually been the victimizer of the democratic history of a country that has shed blood, sweat, and tears to make the United States the most complete democracy in the world into a “victim,” knowing that extremism has run parallel to the country’s history and this very democracy.
It’s just another litmus test for this democracy which, in 2024, will once again decide who will lead the nation while Trump, the first former President indicted on criminal charges in the history of the United States, attempts to return to this post using methods far removed from the law, and democracy itself.
*Maribel Hastings and David Torres / America’s Voice en Español