Trump Indictment May Be Pandora's Box

'Wall Street Journal' editorial board is worried about the precedent
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2023 12:25 PM CDT
What the Left and Right Are Saying About Trump
Kathy Clark of Lantana, Florida, wears an American flag hat with Trump pins as she shows her support for the former president upon news of his indictment.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

We know former President Trump has been indicted, though we don't know the exact charges just yet. Still, the unprecedented move to indict a former president has given political observers across the political spectrum plenty to consider:

  • Worth the worry: Columnist Nicholas Kristof is worried that a failed prosecution would strengthen Trump. "Yet I’d also worry—even more—about the message of impunity that would be sent if prosecutors averted their eyes because the suspect was a former president," he writes in the New York Times. Kristof cites the example of a police officer who ticketed then-President Ulysses S. Grant for speeding with a horse. "If a police officer in 1872 could hold out his hand and force the president’s speeding carriage to a stop, then we, too, should do what we can to uphold the magnificent principle of equality before the law."

  • Trouble ahead: The conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, while frequent critics of Trump, see the move as a mistake akin to opening Pandora's box. "The danger for America is the precedent this prosecution sets," reads the editorial. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg "is busting a political norm that has stood for 230 years," and you can bet that Republican prosecutors will try to make a name for themselves by reciprocating against a Democratic president. Our "democracy will be further abused and battered," it warns. "Bragg, the provincial progressive, is unleashing forces that all of us may come to regret."
  • Glenn Beck: The right-wing pundit donned a MAGA hat on Fox News and declared, "This is the way the average American feels tonight." Appearing on Tucker Carlson's show, he said: "The bill of rights is gone. Nobody is paying attention. ... Donald Trump is not even a person anymore. He’s a symbol. He’s a symbol of the average everyday guy that keeps getting screwed every single time." Watch the clip.
  • On the left: In the Nation, Elie Mystal writes that he doesn't care if this makes Trump more popular politically. Still, he's not optimistic about a conviction. "I want to get him, and these charges don’t feel likely to accomplish that," he writes. "A federal case against Trump for tax and campaign finance fraud two years ago would have been welcome. But going at Trump with shaky jurisdictional authority, two years too late, feels doomed."
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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