If you can’t tell by now, I take pleasure in highlighting the Republican Party’s anti-law-enforcement rhetoric in light of the court-approved FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
There’s just something about calling out the hypocrisy of people who’ve spent decades preaching to folks — especially Black folks — about blindly respecting authority and complying with law enforcement. So, indulge me once more, please.
Remember around 15 years ago, when Republicans seized on an obscure video out of Baltimore and a CBS News "60 Minutes" interview with the rapper Cam’ron to claim that Black people — inspired by rappers — were unnecessarily distrustful of police?
The so-called Stop Snitchin' movement thereby became the focus of breathless Fox News coverage, led largely by host Sean Hannity, who would often imply the views expressed in the video were indicative of widespread views among Black people.
In the following clip, for example, Hannity bemoans a “backroom code of silence” he claimed was “marketed by big corporations and fueled by the rap music industry.” And just for good measure, he threw in a reference to rap music’s “degradation of women, subjugating women, calling women all these names.”
Yes — that’s Sean Hannity, the unabashed cheerleader of a man accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, condemning the mistreatment of women and some people's refusal to cooperate with law enforcement. (Trump has denied the allegations.)
Fast forward to 2022, and Hannity is inciting fear over people who cooperate with law enforcement — specifically, those who cooperate on Trump-related investigations. It’s a well-documented and hypocritical phenomenon for Hannity.
But he’s not the only hypocrite. As I’ve written previously, the conservative movement has played into troubling, racist stereotypes to depict themselves as allies to law enforcement in the past. However, lately, we’ve seen several Trump-loving Republicans either refusing to comply with law enforcement’s investigations or targeting people who do.
One of Trump’s attorneys, Alina Habba, said last week that her client wants a judge to expose the identities of witnesses who helped investigators secure the Mar-a-Lago search warrant.
This, of course, comes amid a push from the pro-Trump camp to pry loose an affidavit that would likely tip conservatives off about who’s been sharing info with investigators and what they’ve already shared. And that pressure campaign has coincided with violent rhetoric Republicans have been directing at unnamed witnesses. Far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, for example, has called anyone who helped law enforcement obtain the warrant a “traitor,” despite having no information about them whatsoever.
The right-wing aversion to witnesses (read: "snitches") who help with Trump-related investigations isn’t confined to the Mar-a-Lago search. From former Trump aides Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, all sorts of Republicans are declining to help state and federal investigators probing Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And top Democrats believe Joseph Cuffari, the Trump-appointed Department of Homeland Security inspector general, is impeding an investigation into mysteriously deleted Secret Service texts.
The implication here is obvious: When Black people express distrust over law enforcement, it’s unwarranted. But when Trump and his band of anti-democratic supporters feel and act on that distrust … well, that’s a different story.