You wouldn’t know if it you heard Joe Scarborough’s rant about the reception Donald Trump got at Game Five of the World Series, but there are worse things than chanting “lock him up” at a baseball game.
In fact, we saw worse things that day. To wit, shortly after we awoke on Sunday morning, Donald Trump gracelessly announced the successful mission to kill al-Baghdadi, the leader of the terrorist group ISIS. That would have been a normal thing to announce, but Trump’s gloating made it was very different from when Barack Obama announced the mission to get Bin Laden succeeded. While President Obama was notably somber, Trump was like a kid who got the prize he wanted in a box of Cracker Jack.
There was a jaw dropping moment when he thanked Russia. Ok, what else can you expect from Donald Trump? It was still jaw dropping.
Trump’s comments contained his usual colorful descriptions and some comments that people with a more mature temperament might not have made. He concluded by asking the media if they had questions.
Following Trump’s announcement, it came out that he told Russia about the mission, but not the Gang of Eight, because Trump claimed he couldn’t trust them to keep the mission secret until it was completed.
That was meant to be a jab at Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose experience in dealing with the sensitivity of classified information spans 20 years; and Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, who was also never associated with leaks. That’s more than we can say about former Republican Chair Devin Nunes.
If we’re going to get really picky, we could point to the fact that this isn’t the first time Donald Trump leaked classified information to Russia.
In fact, the CIA was so concerned that Mr. Trump would leak the identity of a highly valued intelligence source, they had that person removed from Russia.
If anything, the record points to needing to keep the mission secret from the president. Oops.
Okay, we are living in strange times because Trump, being Trump, went before the cameras to announce victory as only Trump would. Of course, getting al-Baghdadi was an important victory. For that, the people who planned and carried out the mission deserve our congratulations and support. But as much as Trump continues to be haunted by the ghost of Barack Obama’s presidency, his “kill” wasn’t as important as the one that occurred on Obama’s watch.
After a day of learning the Russians knew nothing about the mission and didn’t give permission to use their air space, and hearing how great Donald Trump is at telling a narrative, all eyes turned to the World Series.
I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to sports, I’m an ignoramus. I take it the World Series is baseball and the usual post-game talk is about who won and who lost.
Even that’s not normal in Trumpian times. Joe Scarborough started Monday with a rant about how un-American it is to chant “lock him up” at a president while said president is at the World Series with his wife, Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz. Notably absent were Barron Trump and the Trumps’ grandchildren.
Anyway, even if we aren’t sure if we’re still in America, the crowd was certain it had a First Amendment right to chant “lock him up”. Whether one agrees with the crowd or not is immaterial to the fact that in America, we have a right to freedom of speech and when we don’t like a president, we get to say so.
Surely, if a Republican Congressman can shout “You lie!” at Barack Obama while he was delivering a State of the Union Address, the crowd at a baseball game can chant its disapproval of Donald Trump.
Granted, this particular chant is reminiscent of the chants that occurred at Trump campaign rallies from 2016 to this day. It also comes at a time that William Barr, allegedly our Attorney-General, is conducting a criminal investigation into the investigation of the Trump Campaign’s complicity with Russia in its attack on the 2016 election’s integrity.
It may be rare in history and one may find all sorts of reasons to condemn the message and those who sent it. From my perspective, I find all the pearl-clutching over this breach of a norm rather curious. Seriously, more was said and with more intensity about the chant at a baseball game than about Trump telling a hostile foreign power about a secret mission but not the Speaker of the House!
This is not, as some are trying to argue, about criminalizing a difference of opinion. It is about the fact that Donald Trump commits impeachable offenses and/or criminal offenses on an almost daily basis, and yet the priority is on scolding baseball fans for wanting the sort of justice we would want if it was any other person or any other president.
This is also a man whose mission has been to break our institutions and discredit and humiliate our intelligence and law enforcement agencies in service to the so-called “strong men” of the world, most notably Vladimir Putin.
This isn’t merely a “partisan” difference, but even if it was, so what. Free speech applies to athletes who take a knee and to baseball fans. In the words of Mick Mulvaney, get over it.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.