During the third Trump arraignment, I took Adrienne swimming. I was tired of seeing our former president and hearing his silly name. I was exhausted of the sound of his voice and the protestations of the cultists who think he’s their savior. I came home hours later and watched a video of the events, from a foreign news network. I listened to a snooty-voiced reporter tell the snooty-voiced anchorman about the trouble Trump was in, the charges against him, what Americans referred to when they said “a right to a speedy trial.”
It struck me as odd. It sounded as if the reporter was talking about the arraignment of a mafia boss, a would-be dictator of some strange unstable foreign republic. And then it hit me: that is exactly what was happening. America is a strange, unstable republic that stood a good chance of falling to a would-be dictator who fancies himself a mafia boss.
When the fourth indictment was announced Monday night, at almost midnight, I tried to read the dense legal document.
I got about halfway through before I dozed off, and then I woke up and read some more. The former president, and eighteen of his cronies, are now under indictment for racketeering, among other things, in the state of Georgia.
I had to look up “racketeering” because I’m not a lawyer. It’s a type of organized crime using coercion, fraud or extortion to collect a profit or exercise influence. And again, I realized that Donald Trump was nothing but an inept mobster who tried to take over the country. He had corrupt lawyers to help him commit fraud. He had a gang of slobbering goons who murdered five people and defecated on the Capitol floor. The only thing he didn’t have was success, this time.
He’s still far and away the leading contender for the Republican nomination for president. His supporters are dwindling, but not nearly fast enough. A big chunk of the country will still do whatever he says. The day will come when they’re ashamed to say they supported him, but it isn’t today, it won’t be tomorrow, and I don’t hold out much hope for their getting wise in 2024, either. But he may face some justice in the coming months, and in Georgia, his lackeys are in hot water as well.
America is not different than any other shaky republic. We almost fell to a mobster, and can do so again.
I keep coming back to Act 56 of the indictment. It’s the one I screenshotted for my Twitter here, if you don’t want to scroll through it.
Trump’s erstwhile lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is on the hook for racketeering, specifically for what he did to Shaye Moss and Ruby Freedman.
You surely remember those two from the January Sixth select committee hearings in the House of Representatives. Moss was the attractive young woman in the black outfit and Freedman is her mother in a red dress. They were election workers who counted the votes in Georgia, and a video of them doing exactly what they were supposed to do went viral. Giuliani started a rumor that they were packing ballots into “suitcases” and passing off USB drives “as if they’re vials of heroin or cocaine.” The so-called USB drive turned out to be a mint. Giuliani has already conceded in a court of law that he lied. After he falsely accused them, Trump took up the story and wouldn’t stop talking about it. Their lives were ruined. They received racist harassment and death threats. They had to leave their homes and go into hiding for two months. They were traumatized. Moss quit her job and Freeman never goes by her lovely nickname “Lady Ruby” anymore.
Other counts of the indictment may be more important, from a historic perspective, but that one is the one I can’t stop thinking of.
It’s the cruelty that shocks me.
I can understand rich, powerful men committing fraud. It’s almost expected. I probably shouldn’t be so cynical about politics, but I am. But no matter how I try, I can’t wrap my mind around the cruelty. Even after eight years of blatant cruelty from Trump and his partners in crime, it still makes me sick. This is a monstrosity.
If anyone deserves prison, these people do.
Most of all, I look forward to the day when I don’t have to think about Trump and his mob anymore. But that’s not today. We all ought to be thinking about them right now, because our republic is weak, and we could lose it all too easily.
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.