As scandal brews, Trump brings ‘the electric chair’ into the debate

Yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump spoke to reporters in New York for about 10 minutes, sitting alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda, and the Republican pushed back against his latest scandal by throwing a bit of a tantrum.

“If a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair by right now.

“Look at the double standards. You people ought to be ashamed of yourself. And not all. We have some great journalists around. But you got a lot of crooked journalists. You’re crooked as hell.

“Okay. Thank you very much. I hope you enjoyed it.”

To the extent that reality still has any meaning, Joe Biden didn’t do anything wrong. There’s no evidence whatsoever of any misdeeds. I don’t agree with every decision the former vice president ever made, and I don’t agree with every position he’s ever taken, but those looking for real controversies surrounding the Democratic candidate will need to look elsewhere.

The idea that Biden committed some kind of capital offense, deserving of execution, is as indefensible as it is ridiculous.

That said, if the president is eager to talk about “double standards,” let’s take a short stroll down that road.

National Review, a prominent conservative outlet, published an item late last week, that raised a straightforward observation: “There is not a Republican alive who would find it acceptable for a Democratic president to press a foreign country to work with his personal lawyer to investigate a domestic political rival.”

I can appreciate why so many on the right break out in a cold sweat every time someone like me says, “Imagine if Obama did this…” but under the circumstances, with Trump urging the public to consider the scandal from the other direction, specifically calling on us to “look at the double standards,” let’s go ahead and take the president’s advice.

Imagine it’s 2011. Barack Obama’s approval ratings are in the low-to-mid 40s; Nate Silver considers him an underdog in his re-election bid; and the Democratic White House sees Mitt Romney as a credible electoral threat.

Then imagine Obama personally puts a hold on foreign aid to a foreign country, has a meeting with that country’s president, and with very little subtlety, tells his counterpart how eager he is to see an investigation into one of Romney’s sons. In fact, in this hypothetical, Obama has also dispatched his lawyer to help lobby the foreign government, all in the hopes of acquiring dirt on the Democrat’s domestic rival.

How do you suppose Republicans – including guys like Donald Trump – might respond to a story like that?