Donald Trump claimed that his conduct at the center of the Ukraine scandal was motivated by a deep commitment to fighting corruption.
It had nothing to do with trying to derail a political opponent, he and his defenders claimed as impeachment worked its way through Congress.
But on Tuesday, as Trump issued a flurry of pardons of people he happened to see on Fox News, the already-laughable suggestion that he cares about corruption took its final gasp of life. It’s now officially dead.
As Steve Benen of Maddow Blog pointed out, “With this pardon spree, the whole idea of Trump as some kind of corruption-fighter has become a punch-line to a sad joke.”
More from Benen:
For months, as the Ukraine scandal derailed his presidency, Donald Trump tried to defend his illegal extortion scheme with a rather ridiculous explanation. His actions, the president insisted, were motivated by his deep and abiding concerns about corruption. More than a few Republicans played along, pretending that Trump really is an aggressive anti-corruption crusader — all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
Among the names that stand out most is Rod Blagojevich, the notorious for Democratic governor of Illinois, perhaps best known for trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat. (Blagojevich was also, incidentally, a contestant on Trump’s reality television show.)
But there’s no need to stop with the man known as “Blago.” Several of those on today’s list — Bernie Kerik, David Safavian, Michael Milken, Judith Negron, et al. — were convicted of charges related to corruption and fraud.
And Trump, after years of posturing about being “tough on crime,” was only too pleased to intervene in their cases and help wipe the slate clean.
Trump is the embodiment of corruption
Any American who’s been paying attention over the past few years knows that Donald Trump couldn’t care less about corruption.
Not a day has passed since he became president when he wasn’t abusing the power of his office, whether it’s extorting a foreign power for political gain or profiting every time he takes a taxpayer funded golf trip.
Donald Trump doesn’t give a damn about corruption; he never has. His spree of pardons on Tuesday just confirms that fact.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.