Recent events remind me of an incident that took place when my son, Dan, was a little boy of 4. My next-door neighbor and his son accidentally kicked their soccer ball into our backyard. Dan was delighted. When the neighbors came to retrieve their soccer ball, my son, clinging to it, exclaimed, “It’s mine!” After all, the ball was in his backyard, and he was angry at our neighbors’ very appropriate attempt to retrieve what was theirs.
My kind-hearted neighbor offered to give the ball to Dan, but of course I would not allow him to accept this generous gesture. With a dose of motherly love and an understanding of Dan’s disappointment, I took the opportunity to teach him that we do not take or keep that which is not ours. It was a difficult lesson for a little boy to accept … and a lesson that Donald Trump never learned!
Government documents belong to the U.S. government. Period! They do not belong to any former president, and certainly none of the information, classified or not, is ever to be removed from the National Archives to anyone’s home, let alone Trump’s home and public club. Why Trump would illegally take confidential government information from the archives to his club is a major question and of great concern. I don’t want to accuse Trump of treasonous wrong-doing, but the secrets and classified information he hid at Mar-a Lago (his backyard) could be sold to foreign enemies for millions of dollars.
Perhaps if he had learned Dan’s lesson, this improper behavior would not have happened.
Over many, many months and after multiple government requests for return of the documents, Trump finally released some boxes of information in early 2022. At that time his lawyer assured the National Archives that this was the entirety of the papers taken. This was obviously a falsehood, whether she was aware of it, or not. Further demands from the government to have the balance of absconded materials returned were ignored.
Finally, a court-approved warrant was issued by a judge allowing the FBI to search Trump’s home for the hundreds of documents that were missing. Instead of appropriate cooperation, Trump outrageously criticized the FBI and the Justice Department, claiming his home was raided and his property was taken. This distortion, along with Trump’s rhetoric, incited a violent response from some of his followers.
Lest we are blindsided by Trump’s antics, this is not child’s play, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Trump has placed our nation in great jeopardy.
At some point, a judge allowed some of the government information held at Mar-a-Lago to be publicly revealed. To the public’s amazement, the papers were not in any order, and at least 40 of the folders marked “classified” were empty. Others marked “top secret” had been opened and were most likely viewed. One of these top-secret folders revealed a foreign nation’s nuclear information. No doubt our allies feel they can no longer trust us, and the danger to our own national security is evident.
In Trump’s lawyers’ attempt to delay the Justice Department investigation of Trump’s actions, they requested a “Special Master” to review the government’s findings. It is interesting to note that Trump sought out an inexperienced federal judge from Northern Florida whom he appointed to that position in 2020 after the election for a favorable decision on the master review.
Using Mafia tactics, he recently encouraged some of his followers to threaten the judge who issued the warrant, and also his family, his associates, and members of the FBI. Sadly, there has already been a death: an ardent Trump follower who tried to kill FBI workers. It is as true today as it was with the January 6th insurrection of our Capitol, that Trump could contain frenzied rioters if he chose to do so.
On the Labor Day holiday weekend, Trump spoke at a rally to further influence and encourage his followers with his distorted views about the government records. His followers carried signs, “Save America.” This slogan is the name of a fundraising pact that has already collected over $250 million, supposedly earmarked for the 2024 campaign. Fraudulently, most of this money has disappeared. Is this the saving of America?