Donald Trump stated to news reporters today that he has no intention of prosecuting Hillary Clinton despite promising to assign a special prosecutor to look into her situation. This development was released via tweets from New York Times reporters Mike Grynbaum and Maggie Haberman who attended a meeting between the President-elect and reporters and editors at the paper.
This news comes as quite the surprise to Trump supporters, many of whom voted for him with the expectation that he would what he promised to do throughout his campaign. In fact one of the key phrases chanted at all of his rallies was the battle-cry of “Lock Her Up” in response to the numerous scandals, schemes, and suspicious deaths surrounding Clinton’s professional and political career. Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager said in an interview on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’:
“I think when the President-elect, who’s also the head of your party, tells you before he’s even inaugurated that he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content.”
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that Trump “made a tough choice to unite the nation.” He added that while he himself would support a continuation of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s activities he believes that Mr. Trump’s decision will cause his detractors to take another hard look at him to perhaps reconsider their support.
It should be noted that a prosecution of Clinton can still happen. The Department of Justice is autonomous from the White House and does not operate on political opinion but rather on law. In fact several have criticized Trump by saying that it is “not his call” to decide who gets prosecuted and who does not.
However this decision is much bigger than Trump’s willingness to “play nice”. In fact, the President-Elect’s reticence does not increase the faith of his partisans–rather it detracts from it. Mr. Trump’s entire campaign was run on the idea of “Making America Great Again” and one of the primary ways that he was going to do this was by “Draining the Swamp” from the political corruption and special interest crooks that were running our economy into the ground and compromising our national security–Hillary Clinton being the chief of these. In fact, the case could be made that America elected Trump as a protest against Clinton’s deceit and moral decay, not necessarily for any other reason. The tough and uncompromising manner that Trump went after Clinton and her assets rang true in the ears of the millions of Americans who felt like they had been duped and stepped over all these years and were ready for a change.
It’s understandable that Trump made a tough call here. Many (including his top aides would say it’s the right call. It’s certainly inadvisable to win an election and immediately lock up your political opponent. I personally expected a prosecution to not come right away; perhaps at the end of his term. But Trump’s backing off in order to unite the nation is not the uncompromising leadership that we were hoping for. Americans are tired of politicians playing nice and lying from behind clenched-teeth smiles. Americans are ready to purge the criminal activity from this country at large, especially from the thralls of justice and lawmaking in this country. Mr. Trump giving Hillary a pass does not say “Let’s unite the country” as much as it says, “Hillary Clinton committed crimes–yes even treason. But I’ll let her off the hook this time despite other respected individuals losing their careers and even going to prison for much less.” It says that once again politicians are above the law. That’s not strength. That’s weakness.
Conway also that Clinton “still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy,” but added that “if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing to do.” I’m sorry but that’s not what America elected Trump to do. We didn’t elect Trump to heal Clinton–we elected Trump to send a message to the muckraking media and the crooks in Washington that “We The People” won’t stand for this anymore.
One can only hope that President-Elect Trump won’t back down on the other strong stances he took during the campaign against illegal immigration, ISIS, wasteful spending, and corporation corruption. Unfortunately this decision of his to not to investigate the most corrupt individual to enter into the American political arena does little to contribute to that hope.