Monday, January 20, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tried to add Martin Luther King, Jr., to his impeachment defense team.

Trump spent most of the day dedicated to honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., dealing with his forthcoming impeachment trial. He attacked Democrats for failing to call John Bolton to testify during their impeachment hearings—because Trump himself claimed a fictional privilege of "absolute immunity" and threatened to file lawsuits that would outlast his term as president to prevent Bolton from taking the stand. He also saw his allies in the Senate move to adopt rules that would sideline any damaging witnesses or evidence—even testimony and evidence that the House did manage to pry loose.

But he did acknowledge King twice. He took a trip to the King Memorial spent at least one full minute in the presence of the monument. The press pool was hustled away from the scene within two minutes, and the motorcade spent a total of nine minutes on site. Trump did not speak or take questions.

He also invoked King via his surrogate Kellyanne Conway. Asked how Trump was spending the holiday—the nine-minute trip had not been announced at that point—Conway responded:

Well, I can tell you the president... agrees with many of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for, and agreed with for many years – including unity and equality, and he’s not the one trying to tear the country apart through an impeachment process and a lack of substance that is really very shameful at this point. I’ve held my opinion on it for a very long time, but when you see the articles of impeachment that came out, I don’t think it was Dr. King’s vision to have Americans dragged through a process where the president is not going to be removed from office, is not being charged with bribery, extortion, high crimes and misdemeanors. And I think that anybody who cares about ‘and justice for all’ on today or any day of the year will appreciate the fact that the president will have a full throttle defense on the facts, and everybody should have that.

Trump has also said that even being investigated for abuse of power and trying to cover it up is like a "lynching." But he does have a track record on civil rights. It includes:

Why does this matter?

  • It's not a great look for the most powerful man in the world to be playing the victim to this extent.