It’s pretty amazing to see how quickly Donald Trump’s supporters are turning against him. We’re less than two weeks removed from an unbelievable upset victory that few of us were truly expecting, and we’re already treating Trump like the incumbent president that we’re now sick of? Inauguration Day is still two months in the future! Isn’t it a little early to be using words like “BETRAYAL”?
Now let’s be clear – it is jarring to hear Trump suddenly talk about Hillary Clinton like she’s merely a victim of political persecution.
“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons; I really don’t,” Trump told The New York Times Tuesday. “She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways. It’s just not something that I feel very strongly about.”
Not something he feels strongly about? Can someone go back and figure out quantitatively how much of his general election campaign was focused on the crimes of Secretary Clinton? For the last four months, it did not seem like Trump saw this as a trivial issue. It’s one thing to say that you’re not going to appoint a special prosecutor; it’s another to come right up to the edge of saying, “Hey, it was all just campaign nonsense to help me win.”
So yes, if Trump supporters are feeling a little angry right now, they have a right to be. Trump either knowingly lied for four straight months or he is buckling to the same establishment forces he promised to fight.
But there is a third possibility…
Campaign rhetoric aside, it would be an obvious and disturbing abuse of power for President Trump to personally demand and supervise the prosecution of his political rival. Whatever satisfaction we might get from such a circus would be overshadowed by the media’s righteous condemnation of Trump – partly because they would have a legitimate point.
By backing away publicly, he can bring a renewed sense of legitimacy to whatever congressional investigations find in the coming months. As long as those investigations are not impeded, justice should be done. If there are charges to be filed, arrests and prosecutions can go forward without cries of “witch hunt” from the left. Well, they’ll be there, but they won’t be as defensible.
Then again, maybe this is just whistling in the wind. Maybe Trump will ultimately break every single pledge and promise he made on his way to becoming the worst president of all time.
But for now, let’s bask in the glow of victory a little longer. Maybe Hillary won’t go to jail. Okay. Would you rather she be president?