Saturday, May 18, 2024

AdvertiseDonateSubmit
NewsSportsArtsOpinionThe QuadPhotoVideoIllustrationsCartoonsGraphicsThe StackPRIMEEnterpriseInteractivesPodcastsBruinwalkClassifieds

IN THE NEWS:

USAC Elections 2024SJP and UC Divest Coalition Demonstrations at UCLA

Beyond Bruin Walk: In trial, Trump must take long-overdue accountability

(Daily Bruin file photo)

By Lex Wang, Nicolas Greamo, and Laila Wheeler

April 25, 2023 8:21 p.m.

This post was updated April 25 at 9:43 p.m.

Bruins are faced with everyday issues that extend past the immediate confines of their Westwood campus. The Daily Bruin Opinion editors provide the latest commentary on state and nationwide issues that go far “Beyond Bruin Walk.”

Any individual who commits a crime should be held accountable – even former world leaders.

On March 30, former President Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan on 34 felony counts. Alvin L. Bragg, the New York County district attorney in charge of the ongoing prosecution, began investigating Trump over payments from his attorney Michael Cohen – which Trump subsequently reimbursed – to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who allegedly had an affair with the New York mogul.

According to Bragg, a series of hush money payments, beginning in 2015, including the $130,000 that Daniels’ attorney received, should have been classified as campaign spending, as they helped the then-candidate to silence the claims of impropriety against him in the months leading up to the general election that he won over Hillary Clinton.

This wasn’t the first instance Trump made history during his notorious presidency.

As the first president to be impeached twice – the first time for withholding military aid to Ukraine and the second time following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot – Trump’s hands have hardly been clean.

A formal inquiry conducted by the House of Representatives found that the unscrupulous politician coerced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into investigating President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden during a July 2019 phone call. Then, less than a year after the first impeachment concluded, the House once again brought his crimes to public attention by shedding light on how he discouraged the peaceful transition of power and elected instead to incite violence in Washington, D.C.

After being acquitted by the Senate during his first impeachment trial and found not guilty in the second, Trump’s actions have only been reinforced in his own mind. But his continuous refusal to follow the law cannot continue.

During his term in office, Trump unequivocally failed in his responsibility to lead the nation. Beyond that, he still hasn’t abided by the rule of law.

From falsifying business records to violating the integrity of elections to inciting an insurrection, the former president has committed several crimes absolved of punishment. Among his documented legal offenses, Trump’s record includes an extensive list of inhumane acts such as locking children in cages, enforcing a xenophobic Muslim travel ban and supporting the violence of white nationalist groups, to name a few.

Meanwhile, conservatives across the nation have strongly supported the former president, stating that this is a tactic by Democrats to remove the most popular Republican presidential candidate from the 2024 election.

But it was Trump’s autonomous decision to falsify documents over his hundred-thousand dollar hush money payments.

The fact that no American president had ever been charged with a crime before this month is simply evidence against a healthy American democracy. It highlights how deeply the American criminal justice system privileges the powerful and wealthy.

While marginalized Black and brown communities are disproportionately imprisoned for minor offenses like the possession of marijuana, white men in power seemingly get away with major crimes without repercussions.

Whether it be Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal, George H. W. Bush’s amnesty for the Reagan administration officials convicted for selling arms to Iran to fund Contra death squads in Nicaragua, or the numerous senseless wars waged against sovereign nations in the past century, the presidential history of the United States is full of examples of our leaders escaping any accountability for official or personal misconduct.

The chief consequence of de facto presidential legal immunity has been to give elected officials a strong sense of impunity.

The indictment of Trump threatens the power of the presidency – but that’s the point.

Holding present and past leaders accountable is a common practice in countries with strong democratic principles across the globe. Since 2000, more than 76 countries have convicted former leaders.

We could and should too.

In a so-called democracy, privilege and power should never determine whether someone is legally held accountable for their wrongdoings. If Trump is not convicted of his charges, this poses a serious threat to our nation and sets a harmful trend for worse actions to occur in the future.

It goes without question that Trump’s presidency was far from precedented. However, no one is above the law.

At the end of the day, a crime is a crime – no matter who commits it.

Let’s see if the former president can get behind that.

Share this story:FacebookTwitterRedditEmail
Lex Wang | Enterprise editor
Wang is the 2023-2024 Enterprise editor. Previously, she was the 2022-2023 Opinion editor, and prior to that, an assistant Opinion editor. She is Arts and Quad staff and also contributes to News, Sports on the men's volleyball beat, Copy, Design, Photo and Video.
Wang is the 2023-2024 Enterprise editor. Previously, she was the 2022-2023 Opinion editor, and prior to that, an assistant Opinion editor. She is Arts and Quad staff and also contributes to News, Sports on the men's volleyball beat, Copy, Design, Photo and Video.
Nicolas Greamo | Assistant Opinion editor
Nicolas Greamo is a 2023-2024 assistant Opinion editor. He was previously a 2022-2023 assistant Opinion editor and a Photo contributor. He is also a third-year history student from Washington, D.C.
Nicolas Greamo is a 2023-2024 assistant Opinion editor. He was previously a 2022-2023 assistant Opinion editor and a Photo contributor. He is also a third-year history student from Washington, D.C.
Laila Wheeler | Opinion editor
Wheeler is a 2023-2024 Opinion editor. She currently serves on the editorial board and was previously an assistant Opinion editor and columnist. She is a third-year public affairs, education and sociology student from Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Wheeler is a 2023-2024 Opinion editor. She currently serves on the editorial board and was previously an assistant Opinion editor and columnist. She is a third-year public affairs, education and sociology student from Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
COMMENTS
Featured Classifieds
Apartments for Rent

WESTWOOD VILLAGE Large 1BR 1 Bath $2,700 (includes 1 parking space). ONLY TWO LEFT!!! Available July 1 and September 1. Beautifully landscaped courtyard building, laundry room, pool, elevator, subterranean garage. 691 Levering Avenue leveringheights.com (310) 208-3647

More classifieds »
Related Posts