Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Donald John Trump was found liable by a jury on Tuesday for having sexually abused and then libeled writer E. Jean Carroll. The only reason he wasn’t also found liable for rape was that the victim said he inserted something else into her– fingers or some instrument — against her will rather than his male member.
Trump is a would-be dictator, as his attempt to derail the 2020 election results and his whipping up of the Jan. 6 Capitol Insurrection demonstrates. That is, he wanted to do to the US Constitution what he did to Ms. Carroll.
Trump can be depended on to fund-raise on his conviction, and the scarily irrational MAGA base will ignore it.
Chris Licht’s right-leaning CNN has even thrown caution to the winds and offered to televise a Trump “town hall” in prime time. Licht came to CNN from entertainment television in part — having been a show-runner on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, and in entertainment TV it is thought unwise to alienate half your audience by taking partisan political stands. We saw Taylor Swift warned by her handlers about losing 50% of her concert attendees over opposing Sen. Marsha Blackburn. That’s how they think in show biz. It is why there are no union member characters on American television shows. (Ironically, Colbert himself rejects this warped logic and has had great success nevertheless.)
So Licht applied the same yardstick to CNN, and made the anchors stop calling Jan. 6 an insurrection and stopped them from referring to the phony conspiracy theory Trump put about that the 2020 election was rigged as “the big lie.”
And now he’s bringing Trump into America’s living rooms unfiltered. If the American Republic goes the way of the Roman, it will be enablers like Licht who are to blame.
CNBC: “Jury finds Donald Trump did sexually abuse E. Jean Carroll, awards her $5M in total damages”
In contrast, the US media never had anything good to say about other dictators who were serial sex abusers. Take Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi. He was renowned for having a female personal guard. But guess what? Five of them alleged that he had raped them. Gaddafi, like Trump, was a monster.
Too bad his own people overthrew and killed him, or Chris Licht could give Gaddafi a live town hall on CNN, too.
Or there was Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, whose minions killed tens of thousands of Allied soldiers. He is admired in Trumpian circles — Trump consigliere Steve Bannon slavers over Il Duce as a role model. Mussolini, too, was a vicious rapist, according to Yale University Press author RJB Bosworth.
One of Mussolini’s letters is quoted in that book describing his assault on a young virgin: “I grabbed her on the stairs, threw her into a corner behind a door and made her mine. She got up weeping and humiliated, and through her tears she insulted me.”
Or there is the ex-dictator of Gambia in West Africa, Yahya Jammeh, who “handpicked” women for rape during his 22-year reign of terror. After it was over he tried to bribe them with gifts.
Rapist dictators are a dime a dozen. Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. Hissene Habre of Chad.
Trump now formally joins their ranks, having at last been publicly found liable for just one of his many alleged assaults on women (some of them, again allegedly, having been minors). Ugh.
And many Americans would blithely put this ogre back in the highest office of the land.
US politicians are always going on about how things happen abroad that just wouldn’t be tolerated in a “civilized society.”
But it turns out, not so much. We, like the Chadians, Gambians, Libyans and Dominicans, have had a sexual predator-president who sought to be president for life.
Maybe that conceit of being a “civilized society” so different from others is unwarranted. Or maybe the phrase has a genuine content and we just don’t fit that bill.