Thursday, May 30, 2024

U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds dances around questions about Trump trial, making it look like he and the GOP are clueless about simple concepts of governance

Byron Donalds and Donald Trump (The Paradise Progressive)

A New York jury has begun deliberations in the hush-money case against former President Donald Trump, with a verdict possibly coming as soon as today.  Whether the outcome is "guilty" or "not guilty," it will make history because no former president ever has faced a criminal verdict; Trump is the one and only to have done so -- and we aren't even thinking of the three other cases that remain on his personal criminal docket.

Perhaps the historic nature of the occasion caused one Trump ally to become verklempt, making spectacularly bizarre statements -- or in one instance, developing an apparent case of lockjaw when asked a simple question related to the case. So what do we make of this oddball, who is inappropriately mouthy one moment and seemingly incapable of speaking the next.

We are talking about U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), who is considered a legit contender to be Trump's running  mate. Donalds must want the gig pretty badly because common sense seems to have eluded his grasp lately. Of course, that could make Donalds a perfect fit to be VP for Trump, whose verbal meanderings of late have caused several psychologists to voice concern that he has a brain disorder, perhaps a form of dementia, with deterioration apparently accelerating.

If "talking out of your hat" is a requirement for serving in a possible second Trump administration, Donalds might be a perfect fit. Let's consider the first episode where Donalds' mouth and his brain seemed to have become disconnected. This is how The New Republic (TNR) reported on the incident (in a story dated 4/15/24) under the headline "GOP Rep. Desperately Begs New York to Acquit Trump in Hush Money Case; Representative Byron Donalds pleaded with potential jurors in Trump’s hush-money trial to vote “not guilty.” TNR's Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling writes:

The Republican Party is all in on Donald Trump, so much so that at least one representative is trying to sway his legal proceedings. Before the start of the Republican presidential pick’s first criminal trial, Representative Byron Donalds pleaded with the people of Manhattan to give his party leader a break.

“My plea is to the people of Manhattan that may sit on this trial: Please do the right thing for this country,” the Florida congressman told Newsmax. “Everybody’s allowed to have their political viewpoints, but the law is supposed to be blind and no respecter of persons. This is a trash case, there is no crime here, and if there is any potential for a verdict, they should vote not guilty.”

This statement presents several signs that Donalds' brain has turned to mush:

(1) He begs jurors to do "the right thing for this country," and in our justice system, that means a juror should take in all the material presented and render a verdict that is in line with the facts and the law."

(2) But Donalds doesn't want that in the Trump case. He says "the law is supposed to be blind and no respecter of persons," but he wants the law to be turned on its head in this case, in order to benefit the defendant, Donald Trump -- because Donalds desperately wants to serve as Trump's VP.

(3) Donalds hints that jurors should approach the case with an open mind, an unbiased, objective view. But Donalds clearly has his mind made up, declaring (with no evidence to support it) that this is a "trash case," and "there is no crime here." This is the voice of a self-serving individual  who has no idea what he is talking about. In fact, Donalds sounds like someone who has zero understanding of criminal law. Trump also has a tendency to mouth off about issues he does not understand, and that should be a concern for everyone who is considering casting a 2024 vote for Trump. (That reminds me of this question for potential Trump voters: On  what do you base your possible support for Trump? I would genuinely like to know because I don't see any quality he possesses that would make him fit to serve in any public office, much less the presidency. I also don't see anything in Byron Donalds' words that explains why HE supports Trump -- other than he wants to be vice president. If anyone would care to explain why they might vote for Trump, I would love to hear your thoughts. (I do have one request: Please don't tell me why you DON'T want to support Joe Biden or the Democratic Party. I'm interested in why you might -- or definitely will -- cast a vote FOR Donald Trump.)

Donalds is not the only member of the Republican Party to hold this mindset, indicating the GOP has become mostly a shameless band of bootlickers. Houghtaling writes:

Donalds’s appeal is indicative of a new wave of opinion within the conservative party—that is, a complete disregard for not just Trump’s 91 criminal charges but also their outcome. According to The Daily Beast, just one in 20 interviewed GOP lawmakers showed concern with the possibility that their nominee for the White House could be a convicted felon, instead referring to the proceedings as “frivolous.”

“You get an alleged conviction on BS charges in front of a judge that is not impartial and that’s supposed to sway my mind?” Donalds told The Beast. “Man, I’m bigger than that. I don’t worry about that kind of stupid stuff.”

Other lawmakers, such as Ohio Senator J.D. Vance, completely threw the judicial system under the bus, blaming Trump’s woes—which also include repercussions for bank fraud, sexual abuse, election interference, hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and more—as the failures of another pillar of government.

“I’m very uncomfortable with the weaponized justice system,” Vance told the outlet. “I couldn’t care less what a weaponized justice system says. Ultimately, it’s not going to change my vote. I don’t think it’ll change most Americans’ votes.”

The only outlier was Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a longtime Trump critic who is leaving Congress at the end of his term. He told The Beast that the implications of having a convicted felon as president were “not good”— still, he didn’t believe that a conviction would “make any difference at all” to Trump voters.

“He will once again say, ‘This is all political,’” Romney told the outlet. “And they will dutifully follow.”

That appears to extend to many of Trump’s acolytes in Congress.

What about the second incident, where Donalds seemed to lose his ability to speak. TNR provides details under the headline "Potential Trump V.P. Dodges Simple Question on Dangerous Trump Lie; Byron Donalds refused to answer a question on the merits of Donald Trump’s latest conspiracy theory." Hafiz Rashid writes:

Representative Byron Donalds won’t answer a simple question on whether he thinks the FBI wanted to assassinate Donald Trump while searching his estate for classified documents.

The contender for vice president kept dodging CNN’s Abby Phillip Thursday night when she tried to get a straight answer out of him regarding the conspiracy theory.

“Congressman, I just want to note that you are not responding to a very simple question about a conspiracy theory that you voiced,” Phillip said, at times talking over Donalds. 

“What conspiracy theory?” Donalds replied, sounding clueless.

“That the FBI, by having on a document that they are authorized to use deadly force, was trying to harm or assassinate Donald Trump,” Phillip replied. “That is false. Will you acknowledge that?”

“Can I be very clear with you?” Donalds asked, talking over Phillip, who tried in vain to get him to acknowledge the truth of the situation. “I’m not sure what Merrick Garland is trying to do these days, because it is clear that the Department of Justice is being weaponized against Donald Trump.” 

Phillip and Donalds argued throughout the rest of the interview, with Donalds spending more than three minutes trying to steer their discussion back to his assertion that the Justice Department is being weaponized, and Phillip trying to pin down the congressman on how there was no plot to kill Trump, as the former president claimed on a Truth Social post earlier this week.

A former president claiming his successor tried to kill him is unprecedented, according to The Washington Post. The FBI has already testified that it chose to search Mar-a-Lago on a day that Trump would not be there in order to prevent any conflict. The FBI and Merrick Garland each confirmed that standard procedure for searches includes a deadly-force policy, and that the same policy was used when President Biden’s homes were searched for classified documents.

Donalds and other Trump allies are seizing upon this conspiracy theory to distract from the recent news that more classified documents were found in Trump’s bedroom at Mar-a-Lago four months after the FBI’s initial search. Meanwhile, the actual case against Trump remains in limbo thanks to Trump appointee Judge Aileen Cannon’s indefinite stay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many people are saying Trump is a convicted felon, was found guilty like a dog.