Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Here’s what I know about the Trump 2020 commercial aired during the Super Bowl, which I refuse to link to here.
1) It touts as Trump’s singular achievement the First Step Act, criminal justice reform legislation that was one of the few bipartisan bills to pass the House and Senate right before Democrats took control of the House in 2019. Similar legislation had languished in Congress several times prior over a course of years at the behest of Republican lawmakers, including former Trump administration AG Jeff Sessions while he was still the senior senator for Alabama. The new bill also came close to dying in chambers, with Texas Republican senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn only muting their opposition when certain compromises were introduced into the House bill, and despite attempted “poison pill” amendments from Tom Cotton (R-AK) and John Kennedy (R-LA). Mitch McConnell (R-Kremlin) initially refused to hold a floor vote on the bill during the lame-duck session.
2) Despite the law’s estimate that development of the FSA’s new programs would require $75 million a year for five years, Trump’s 2020 budget request — not binding, but a signal of values — asked for a mere $14 million to be allocated to this allegedly signature achievement.
3) The commercial itself leans heavily on the prize optics of a Black woman, Alice Marie Johnson, tearfully thanking President Trump for having set her free after an unjust prison term of 21 years served of a life sentence, originally handed down for the first-time offense of facilitating messages between illegal drug traders. During the four years that the Obama administration ran a program to receive petitions for clemency, hers was one of over 16,000 received, and her request was denied. This clemency program immediately ended once Trump took office, as he pivoted towards a harder-line stance on crime that aligned with the worldview of AG Sessions.
4) Throughout 2016, Trump had repeatedly referred to himself as the “law and order” candidate, pushing for tougher tactics and demanding the return of stop-and-frisk. He holds fast to his insistence that the Exonerated Five were guilty. As has been shown time and again throughout the impeachment investigation and subsequent Republican cover-up, he conducts both personal and political business with the mien of a lumbering gangster. The notion that he believed strongly in criminal justice reform prior to his election, much less afterwards, is self-serving balderdash.
5) Johnson’s cause in particular wasn’t taken up by Trump until Kim Kardashian West secured a meeting with him to discuss it. If you think he’d ever thought about Alice Marie Johnson before that meeting, I have a poorly constructed, unfinished wall I’d like to sell you.
6) The statement “President Trump is reuniting families” is a deliberate attempt to trigger outrage from those of us who have not forgotten what his administration continues to perpetrate against migrants at the southern border. I can’t prove that Stephen Miller wrote it himself but I’d happily place a $5 bet on it.