Opinion: Trump Adds To His List of Crimes by Proposing We Drink Bleach

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On Friday, states and manufacturers of Clorox and Lysol were issuing public service announcements to ignore Donald Trump’s proposed prescription of injecting or drinking those products to cure COVID-19. To be clear, he thought it would “be interesting” to test the effects of bleach on killing the novel corona virus in the human body since it works so well on the surface.

Newsflash: We have evidence to show the lethal effects of drinking bleach or injecting bleach into the human body. So it really doesn’t matter if it would work or the corona virus or not.

The fact that we have a president who gives this sort of advice is bad enough, but what’s worse is there are people who believe him and they vote.
I realize I’m doing this wrong. We’re supposed to humor Trump’s voters because they felt left out or ignored, so they voted for him to get some attention.

I’m always going to have problems with that theory because of the encounters I’ve had with people like that. They’re the people who are arrogant enough to think they know everything about you, when the reality is, their understanding is limited to tropes about the list of people who they think made their life suck. I get a triple score as a woman, a Jew and an immigrant.

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This is admittedly a story that begs for sarcasm because it’s so absurd. But, this level of absurdity is also a stark reminder of the fact that Trump’s lies literally killed tens of thousands of Americans and we’re in the early stages of what could be a multiple wave pandemic.

Anyone I’ve been talking to is long past ready for Donald Trump to be banished from the White House. That is not enough. Trump committed a long list of crimes while there and before. It would certainly take more than one post here – probably a pretty intense series of books – to build the cases against all Trump’s crimes. To paraphrase a colleague, even a second-rate prosecutor knows that.

That’s why some first-rate prosecutors, like Glenn Kirschner, are being vocal about the need for prosecutions in a real court room – and a truth commission.
To simplify, Trump can be charged and convicted with negligent homicide for all the people who died because of his lies. Whether it was the lie about this pandemic being a hoax, it only infects Democrats or maybe it infects but maybe we can just inject some Clorox or Lysol; any death stemming from a lie that he knew was likely to result in death meets the mental state required for gross negligence.

Former prosecutor and JAG, Glenn Kirschner, spoke in favor of prosecutions for gross negligence in an interview with The Intercept

“I actually think he will see charges brought in each jurisdiction in which people have died as a result of his gross negligence. So I have a feeling that he has got a lot of criminal legal exposure coming at him beginning in January 2021.”

By logical extension, one can conclude that the act and the volume of people who got sick and will live with permanent organ damage while many died and will die constitute something that offends the community’s sensibilities and therefore qualifies as a crime against humanity.

On its face, there is ample evidence to convict Trump. However, we need a better than second-rate prosecutor to try this case. The odds are very likely that at least one person who believes Trump will end up on the jury. All it takes for Trump to walk is to persuade that one juror that this is the “Deep State” going after him out of hate rather than because evidence shows he’s probably guilty of negligent homicide.

Separately, Kirschner supports creating a truth commission and has been vocal about it since December 2019, as reflected in this tweet.

 

The truth commission, while a legitimate political body, is not a substitute for a court. But in this case, both avenues are needed because as there were crimes, there was also a significant amount of political malpractice.

The attempt to convict Trump on articles of impeachment failed because the Senate majority put party loyalty above the rule of law.  Trump is our second chance to correct a potentially fatal flaw in our political and judicial systems, one we saw on a much smaller scale with Bush and his torture program.  The objective is to prosecute crimes when warranted, not to prosecute political ideas, a distinct feature of the system that made America great and democratic.

In short, we need a mechanism for independent investigation and when applicable, prosecution of a president’s crimes immediately – not after he has had four years to carry out a crime spree or commit crimes to win office in the first place.

Similarly, the commission could explore how the media’s manner of covering Trump played some role in making COVID-19 more deadly in America than it had to be.  The media is still covering Trump and his lies in real time and doing the fact checks later.  Better to take clips of his speech and present the fact checking in the same news segment. 

The truth commission could also address issues like the problem with having an Attorney-General who is as corrupt and authoritarian as the president and conducts himself as if he is only accountable to his president. 

Ditto Trump’s sycophants.  For them, we might copy a function of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission:  a mechanism for supporters of Apartheid to confess their sins. While some got immunity from prosecution at the recommendation of the commission, that depended on the nature and severity of their crimes. 

Addressing these and other issues requires careful framing and focus.  It will also take time.  It will be worth it. 

We need truth, reconciliation and justice before we can close the chapter on Donald Trump.