The mafia had “omerta,” and Trump has the NDA

More on Trump as mob boss:

Today, the president is testing the limits of his supporters’ moral flexibility yet again. Simply put, he has never sounded more like a mafioso than he did in an interview with Fox News on Thursday, reacting to a question about why Michael Cohen had turned on him:

Because he makes a better deal when he uses me, like everybody else. And one of the reasons I respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial, you know they make up stories, people make up stories. This whole thing about “flipping,” they call it. I know all about flipping, for 30, 40 years I’ve been watching flippers. Everything is wonderful, and then they get 10 years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is or as high as you can go. It almost ought to be outlawed. It’s not fair. …

If somebody defrauded a bank and he is going to get 10 years in jail or 20 years in jail but if you can say something bad about Donald Trump and you will go down to two years or three years, which is the deal [Cohen] made, in all fairness to him, most people are going to do that. And I’ve seen it many times, I’ve had many friends involved in this stuff, it’s called “flipping” and it almost ought to be illegal.

All the outrageous and appalling things you’ve heard Trump say shouldn’t keep you from being shocked at this. First, note that Trump says, “I’ve had many friends involved in this stuff” — “this stuff” meaning being accused of a crime and being offered leniency in exchange for cooperating with law enforcement to help them secure convictions on more significant criminals. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have many friends involved in that stuff, because I haven’t spent “30, 40 years” associating with apparent criminals.

And then there’s the part where he says it’s not fair, it ought to be illegal – using plea deals to prosecute other criminals. The president of the US is saying that oughta be illegal. He’s adopting, without apparently even noticing, the point of view of the criminal.

But Trump is big on people keeping their mouths shut. As head of the Trump Organization, as a candidate and as president, he has forced underlings to sign nondisclosure agreements forbidding them from revealing what saw while in his employ. In many cases, those agreements includednon-disparagement clauses in which the signer had to pledge never to criticize Trump or his family for as long as they lived. The mafia had “omerta,” and Trump has the NDA.

And that’s disgusting and shocking but it’s not surprising. Why not? Because this is who Trump is and that has always been obvious.

The thing about a cult of personality is that its character depends on the personality in question. Republicans sometimes mocked Democrats for worshiping Barack Obama, and you might argue that some of his supporters got a bit starry-eyed at times, particularly in 2008. But Obama never asked them to suddenly offer a full-throated defense of something morally abhorrent simply because the president thought it might be good for him.

The contrast could hardly be more stark.

I wouldn’t say the same about Bill Clinton. Jimmy Carter, yes, but Clinton, no. But Obama? Hell yes. He’s too conservative in some ways for my taste but as a human being…no comparison.

One Response to “The mafia had “omerta,” and Trump has the NDA”