What’s Going On: In ironic twist, judges give Trump legal carte blanche

As part of its “first in the nation” distinction regarding the presidential primary campaign, Iowa plays host to its fair share of candidates seeking the highest office in the land.

So it was no surprise on a chilly, January evening in 2016, one of the Republican front runners stood at a podium at Dordt College in Sioux Center.

What he said next to the assembled crowd at the small, private Christian college would make immediate headlines and has been oft-repeated since.

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.”

From even before he became a presidential candidate in the fall of 2015, Donald Trump has made a lot of … outlandish … statements. And while even most of his supporters admit he likes to, shall we say, bend the truth, I don’t think he has ever uttered a more accurate statement than he did that night in Iowa.

Now obviously, even Trump’s biggest critics realize he wasn’t being literal in his claim he could commit cold-blooded murder and not suffer any consequences.

And the context of the comment was largely ignored at the time and since forgotten, but important to remember. This was very early in a presidential primary campaign in which there were more than a dozen competitors simply for the Republican nomination. Trump was speaking to a group of a Republicans and was remarking about the loyalty of his base and how they would stick with him through thick and thin.

To that end, as mentioned, he has never made a more truthful statement.

Fast forward nearly three years and now-President Trump appears embroiled in a legal (another word for poop) storm. His former attorney has been sentenced to prison, a tabloid publisher cut a deal regarding his role in alleged felonious activities regarding Trump’s campaign, and a Russian agent pleaded guilty to her role in coordinating a campaign between the Kremlin and conservative voters.

And all that was just in the last week.

But here’s the thing: it … doesn’t … matter.

It doesn’t matter if Trump, legally or not, paid off a porn star and a Playboy model and if those women’s claims of extra-marital affairs with the champion of Christian conservatives is true.

It doesn’t matter if Vladimir Putin and the entire Russian population wanted Trump president and worked with his campaign to ensure it.

It doesn’t matter if Trump is giving Saudia Arabi’s prince a free pass for chopping up a journalist because of mutual business interests.

It doesn’t matter if Trump is violating the constitution’s emolument’s clause regarding his private businesses receiving funds from foreign powers.

Any one of those transgressions could get Trump impeached, but they won’t; not at least while the Republicans control the Senate.

Why? Because ultimately, those Senators who would preside over impeachment proceedings (if articles are ever brought by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives) ultimately will do the bidding of their constituents. And just as they were in January 2016, those constituents remain fiercely loyal to Trump.

And the reason conservatives, and Christians specifically, are willing to look the other way when it comes to Trump’s many moral transgressions is simply because he has fulfilled his most important campaign promise: The appointment of conservative and more importantly, pro-life judges.

That’s, pardon the expression, the Trump card. Those judges are Trump’s ace of spades; they beat everything else.

Abortion has become the singular issue contingent for conservatives’ vote and continued support. Nothing else matters, something Trump proves every … single … day.

Could Trump literally stand on Fifth Avenue, shoot someone and not lose votes? Probably not, unless it was CNN’s Jim Acosta. But if he were to stand there with a bullhorn instead of a gun and pronounce his support of a woman’s right to an abortion … well, that would truly be his undoing.


Gregory Orear is the publisher of The Journal. His award-winning weekly column, “What’s Going On,” has been published in four newspapers in three states for more than 20 years. He can be contacted at gorear@nujournal.com.