Justice is finally catching up to Donald Trump. He's spent his whole adult life, and surely part of his childhood, feeling like he can get away with anything, thanks to the power of money he inherited from his father and subsequent business dealings that not only skirted the law, but sometimes broke the law.
He's been found legally liable for defrauding people who signed up for Trump University. He's been found legally liable for defaming E. Jean Carroll, who he sexually assaulted and then lied about her making the story up. His list of other lawsuits and indictments goes on and on in a Wikipedia page.
And today a judge ruled that Trump's company has to pay $355 million ($450 million including interest) for making fraudulent business statements. Apologists for Trump like to say that this was a "victimless" crime, but that's not how New York law works. Here's one person's summary of the fraudulent things that were done.
This is how the $355 million judgment turned into a $454 million judgment.
The judge who tried the case and determined the penalty (Trump's legal team agreed to have the case decided by a judge instead of a jury) had some biting words about the Trump family. I liked the final paragraph below so much, I'll restate it:
The Court is not constituted to judge morality; it is constituted to find facts and apply the law. In this particular case, in applying the law to the facts, the Court intends to protect the integrity of the financial marketplace and, thus, the public as a whole. Defendant's refusal to admit error -- indeed, to continue it, according to the Independent Monitor -- constrains this Court to conclude that they will engage in it going forward unless judicially restrained.
Given all the fuss about President Biden apparently forgetting dates and mixing up the names of world leaders, this observation about how Trump and his children don't recall basic facts is a great counterpoint. Plus, Biden has never been found guilty by a court of fraud and defamation, while Trump has.
What boggles my mind isn't so much that Trump has been found guilty of serious offenses, with more guilty verdicts likely to come, because this is what Trump so evidently is: a liar and fraudster. Rather, what I can't fathom is how so many Americans, roughly 45% or so, currently believe that Trump deserves a second term as president.
I've been closely following presidential races since 1968, about 55 years. There's never been a serious candidate for the presidency with anywhere near the moral, ethical, and legal shortcomings of Donald Trump. Even Richard Nixon comes across as a paragon of righteousness compared to Trump.
I can't decide whether Trump has cajoled the bulk of the Republican Party into believing that all of his legal woes are a nefarious plot by Trump-hating prosecutors, or if Republicans simply are no longer the party of law and order as they used to be.
Probably it's a bit of both.
I just know that Ronald Reagan would have been aghast at how so many of today's Republicans are opposed to giving more aid to Ukraine because they don't mind if Putin succeeds in his goal of reconstituting the old Soviet Union. After all, Reagan was strongly against the Soviet Union.
And Republicans traditionally stood for strong moral values. Even if I disagreed with their stand on certain issues, like same-sex marriage, I could respect their passion for doing what they viewed as the right thing.
But now Republicans are fine with Trump trashing morality by lying, cheating, and stealing his way through life and politics. Hopefully they'll come to their senses by election day and realize that a vote for Trump is a vote against what made America great: truth, justice, and high moral standards.