If Donald Trump is indicted, it would be historic — the first time a former U.S. president has ever been indicted. But there’s a larger issue here: This former president may finally face accountability.
You see, Trump has rarely been held accountable for his shady behavior, from stiffing contractors back in his real estate days, to allegations of sexual misconduct (which Trump has denied), to his two impeachments — one for trying to blackmail the Ukrainian president, and the other for fomenting an attempted coup.
Instead, he has consistently been protected and rewarded, whether it was by his father or the Republican Party. Those in the GOP who had objections just looked the other way. Others encouraged his behavior out of some misplaced desire for revenge against a “changing America.” This man literally fueled a violent siege on our Capitol and most of the Republican Party just shrugged it off or called it a “normal tourist visit.”
And yet, what Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is doing is not abnormal. It is not a political witch hunt. Even the original “Teflon Don,” John Gotti, had to pay for his crimes eventually. In healthy democratic societies, leaders are held accountable and there are plenty of examples across the globe.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty of several crimes including corruption, influence peddling and illegal campaign financing. Guess what? They sentenced him to prison.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted in 2019 for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. And in true Trump-style, he ran for his old office again anyway and won. He is now trying to rewrite the judiciary system so he doesn’t have to face accountability.
In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister and current member of the far-right coalition leading Italy, was acquitted of bribery over his infamous “Bunga bunga” sex parties. In his entire political career, he’s faced 35 criminal court cases. He was found guilty in only one.
Holding politicians accountable is not abnormal. What is abnormal is a former president who summons a mob to “fight like hell” after a majority of American voters held him accountable for the failures of his presidency — and voted him out.
Frankly, it’s no surprise that he’s returning to his usual playbook, posting erratic and unhinged calls for his supporters to “protest” his potential indictment. Nor is it a surprise that he’s deploying the same antisemitic, race-baiting posts on his third-rate Twitter — something his congressional buddies and television allies are all too happy to mimic.
This is an excerpt from Tuesday’s episode of the “The ReidOut.” It has been slightly edited for length and clarity.