This morning, for approximately the 15th time in his political life, President Donald Trump tweeted out his belief that the ongoing Russia investigation is a, “WITCH HUNT.” And yes, the tweet was all caps. But does Trump know anything about actual American witch hunts? And is he aware of how said hunts turned out? And does he know what can he learn from history?
Answers: Probably not, doubtful, and a helluva lot. Here are three examples of legitimate American witch hunts, and why Trump should consider eliminating the phrase from his vocabulary:
THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS (1692-1693)
The Situation: Residents of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex counties in Massachusetts believed there were witches living in their midst.
The Outcome: Over 150 suspected witches were arrested and imprisoned, 29 of whom were convicted for the capital felony of witchcraft.
Trump’s Takeaway: Assuming special council Robert Mueller continues down his indictment-filled path, 29 convictions sounds about right.
JIM CROW LAWS (1876-1965)
The Situation: Jim Crow was a series of unofficial laws enacted by the Southern states that infringed upon the rights of African American citizens.
The Outcome: President Harry Truman began phasing out the laws in 1948, culminating in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Trump’s Takeaway: A win for the progressives…and, for that matter, a victory for society as a whole. To reiterate: The progressives won.
THE RED SCARE AND PALMER RAIDS (1919-1920)
The Situation: The U.S. Senate created the Overman Committee, a body that investigated, among other things, Germany’s efforts to overthrow the government.
The Outcome: Triggered by a number of bomb scares (including the mailing of explosives to Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer) the Palmer Raids—a series of warrantless arrests and deportations of thousands of alleged radicals—ultimately led to the birth of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Trump’s Takeaway: A foreign entity’s theoretical effort to influence American policy led to a liberal movement that has made this country a better place. Here’s hoping.
Novelist, pop culture journalist, and celebrity ghostwriter Alan Goldsher has written 14 books