One of the persistent ironies of narcissism is that accusations hurled by narcissists are really confessions. The “lock her up” crowd spurred on by Donald Trump were taught counterfeit outrage because Hillary Clinton took her classified work home with her. Now they are outraged because their hero is being rightly accused of doing the same thing.
But it isn’t the same thing, really. What Trump did was far, far worse. It isn’t even in the same league. Hillary took her immediately relevant work home with her because she was a hardworking, conscientious Secretary of State who hated the State Department’s mail server (as did everyone) and wanted to get a good job done. She risked nothing because it turned out that what she had with her was not classified material that was remotely dangerous to national security.
In other words, she broke the rules a little, but she did so in an innocuous way. Republicans made a huge, disproportionate deal out of it because that and Benghazi was all they had. If she had, oh I don’t know, started a university with bogus professors and no accreditation that ripped off students and got successfully sued because of it, that would have been much better for them. Or if she’d raped somebody. Or if she’d sexually assaulted dozens of men and then bragged about it. Or if she’d hoodwinked a charity. Or if she’d bankrupted a casino. Or if she’d ripped off a family business and driven them to bankruptcy. Or if she’d denied people of color housing based on their race. You know, stuff like that. Republicans would have made some real hash about that, let me tell you.
But her emails, well, that was just about all they had. So Republicans used it to the hilt. And incredibly, they’re still using it some six or seven years later.
But what Trump did, by taking mountains of classified documents home with him, isn’t comparable to what Hillary Clinton did. It’s comparable to what Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are alleged to have done. You see, it is possible that Trump may have made off with documents that included Critical Nuclear Weapon Design Information (CNWDI).
And if Trump took CNWDI documents then he intended to sell them. Think about it. Why else would a moron like Donald Trump do such a thing? To brush up on his current nuclear weapons studies? No. He intended to parley or bluff or bribe or blackmail with it, or out and out sell that information. Because that’s who he is and what he is and how he operates, and if we haven’t all figured that out by now then shame on us.
What’s more, CNWDI documents fall into a unique classification protocol and not even the president of the United States can declassify them on his own. As a former owner of a CNWDI security clearance I can tell you just how seriously they take it. I got the classification when I was in my mid 20s. I was subjected to microscopic checks and protocols just so I could act as a courier of such documents. I most emphatically was not allowed to so much as glance at them.
Rightly or wrongly (and I am not here to debate it), Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in the electric chair for espionage for divulging secrets about such documents. It is a very deadly dangerous game to play indeed.
The Rosenbergs did it, if they did it at all, for ideological reasons. Donald Trump, on the other hand, would sell out his country for money in a heartbeat, any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Because that’s who he is. Again, shame on us if we don’t know that already. Donald Trump is greed personified, and we know for a fact that he would happily put the lives of every man, woman and child in America at risk for the sake of his ego and his pocketbook — in a heartbeat.
We know this because he’s done it already. He already allowed millions of Americans to die from Covid just so he wouldn’t have to admit he was wrong. He did it without the smallest demonstration of shame or guilt.
I think Donald Trump would gladly turn over America’s nuclear armaments secrets to the Saudis or Putin or anyone if there was a fat paycheck in it for him. Because that’s exactly who he is. He has already shown us who he is and we should believe him the first time.
And if he did take CNWDI documents with intent to sell them — and even though I am opposed to the death penalty — I think he deserves the same fate as the Rosenbergs. Because as president of the United States, his betrayal was far, far more despicable. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.