Trump’s a Fraud When It Comes to Law and Order and ‘Backing the Blue’

He pardoned crony crooks against DOJ’s recommendations, and he’s promised to let Jan. 6 insurrectionists—who brutally attacked cops—off the hook.Published Apr. 22, 2024 4:52AM EDT opinionPhoto Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/GettyDonald Trump likes to project himself on the campaign trail as a tough, “law and order” president who always “backs the blue.”At nearly every campaign stop, his

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He pardoned crony crooks against DOJ’s recommendations, and he’s promised to let Jan. 6 insurrectionists—who brutally attacked cops—off the hook.

Ron Filipkowski

opinion

An animated gif of former President Donald Trump.

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Donald Trump likes to project himself on the campaign trail as a tough, “law and order” president who always “backs the blue.”

At nearly every campaign stop, his advance team arranges for law enforcement photo ops, and a central part of his campaign message is that he wants the law strictly enforced and is always on the side of the police.

After NYPD officer Jonathan Diller was shot and killed in the line of duty last month, Trump scrambled a flight from Florida up to New York City to attend the slain officer’s memorial service. His campaign arranged for Diller’s family to pose for pictures with the ex-president, while Trump complained that violence against police officers is “happening all too often and we’re just not going to let it happen.”

However, many of Trump’s actions as president—and many that he promises to make should he win the election in November—directly contradict his manufactured pro-cop image.

His initial budget in 2017 sought dramatic cuts in funding for community policing and federal grants used to train and equip local police agencies. His final three budgets sought to either cut these programs in half or eliminate them entirely. When Congress continued to fund these programs, Trump’s DOJ refused to release millions in funding to police agencies that he determined weren’t tough enough on immigration.

As president, Trump pardoned 237 people convicted of federal crimes, but bypassed procedures that had been in place for 125 years to ensure pardons were fair and appropriate based on the facts and circumstances. Under past presidents, the Justice Department’s Office of Pardons reviewed each application for suitability.

Trump ended that practice, bypassing DOJ to dole out pardons to his friends, political supporters, and people with well-connected friends—such as Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Dinesh D’Souza, Paul Manafort, Michael Milken, Bernard Kerik, Charles Kushner, and George Papadopoulos.

Trump also granted pardons to seven former Republican congressmen, whose alleged crimes included insider trading, conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, bribery, money laundering, extortion, insurance fraud, and tax evasion. (Trump’s “law and order” apparently doesn’t apply to Republican politicians, either.)

Only 25 of Trump’s 237 pardons were recommended by DOJ.

But if there’s one aspect of Trump’s 2024 campaign that proves beyond a doubt that his “backing the blue” pose is a fraud—it’s his repeated promises to pardon defendants charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol that he incited.

He’s called the insurrectionists “patriots” who have been “treated very unfairly.” He has never added any limiting or qualifying language to his pledge to set the “Jan. 6 hostages” free, so voters must assume he means all of them.

Many of the most notorious Jan. 6 defendants—such as Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio—have said that they are counting on getting a pardon from Trump if he wins the election. Both were convicted of seditious conspiracy as organizers and ringleaders of the insurrection. Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison, Tarrio got 22 years.

Of the more than 1,300 people charged with Jan. 6-related crimes, 439 were charged with assaulting or resisting police officers, and 129 of those were charged with using a weapon against an officer and causing injuries. At least 140 officers sustained injuries.

Trump never visited any of these officers in the hospital. He never called them or their families. He has never praised their heroism or service. The officers who defended the Capitol that day were not heroes, according to Trump—but the people who beat and attacked them are “patriots.” That’s a pretty abominable job of “backing the blue.”

While Trump continues to cynically use police as political props on the campaign trail, his words and actions prove his support for police is superficial and insincere.

He used his pardon power as president in an abusive and unethical way that disregarded U.S. government criminal justice policy for 125 years to benefit his friends and political cronies. He has promised to use his pardon power to absolve hundreds of people who assaulted and injured police officers in the line of duty.

As with most things Trump, his words and imagery as a candidate don’t match up with his deeds. And as he and his MAGA minions stoke fears about crime rates and public safety, never forget that when it comes to “law and order” and “backing the blue”—like most things in Trump’s life—he’s a fraud.

Ron Filipkowski is the Editor-in-Chief of MeidasTouch.com and host of the Uncovered podcast.

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