Is it petty and small of us to feel a certain amount of schadenfreude from seeing Donald Trump’s eponymous company indicted on criminal charges involving conspiracy, falsifying records, and tax fraud? Let’s take our cue from the ultimate target himself. When rival hotelier Leona Helmsley was prosecuted for tax fraud and tax evasion in the 1980s, Trump penned – and leaked to the NY Post — a gloating, vitriolic letter condemning her and calling her “a disgrace to the industry and a disgrace to humanity in general.”
Trump being Trump even then, he was motivated to lash out at her, according to “an anonymous source close to Trump” (i.e., Trump), by the fact that Helmsley had rebuffed his overtures relating to a small piece of a much larger real estate deal he was doing in Atlantic City.
With no sense of irony, but perhaps a bit of foreshadowing/projection, Trump told Leona Helmsley that if it weren’t for her husband, Harry, she “would not be able to randomly fire and abuse people in order to make yourself happy.”
To make matters even more interesting, while Trump and his lawyers have tried to play the victim in the Trump Organization indictment, screaming “Witch Hunt!” and “Political persecution!” and claiming that no such case would ever be brought if the defendant company were not named “Trump,” it was none other than Trump’s good buddy and sometime (unpaid) lawyer, Rudy Giuliani who was the U.S. Attorney in charge of the famed Southern District of New York (SDNY) when it prosecuted Helmsley.
It certainly may be disconcerting for us to be in the company of Donald Trump in enjoying the downfall of a perceived enemy. Nonetheless, feel free to allow yourself a moment or two to enjoy the spectacle of his company (and thus, Trump) taking it on the chin.
However, be aware that never-Trumpers are not the only ones enjoying the impending demise of Trump. Surely, all of Trump’s sycophantic suck-ups in the Republican Party who harbor their own Presidential ambitions are secretly delighted to see the walls closing in on him, although they would never say so publicly.
Ron DeSantis, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Mike Pompeo, and others all must know that if Trump is knocked out or crippled by New York prosecutors, that opens up an opportunity for them to swoop in and take up his anti-democratic mantle and exploit his gullible base to further their own ambitions in 2024. As for the rest of us, this reinforces the need to realize that there is much work yet to be done to save America even after Trump departs the scene (preferably in handcuffs).