On July 16, 2016, the Trump campaign embraced a new and quite starting campaign theme: “Lock her up!” Never before in the U.S. had a presidential nominee endorsed the idea of putting his opponent in jail. Or at least sloganeering to do so.
Initially, “Lock her up” wasn’t an official talking point of the campaign. But rabble rousers on the right, such as Roger Stone and Michael Flynn (both who might soon find themselves locked up) urged Trump followers to shout it out at every chance. Of course, t-shirts and paraphernalia followed. Get your ‘Lock her up’ cap and coffee mug! (Who knew that the money raised by the campaign within a year would be used to pay for the president’s legal defense – Trump’s, not Hillary’s.) The trickster at play, no doubt.
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort seemed fine with that rhetoric getting airtime at the convention when asked about it during a morning news conference that day, saying that it illustrates voters’ frustration that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee hasn’t been held accountable for her actions.
“I think that was a refrain that Gov. Christie was calling for in the speech,” the Washington Examiner wrote, quoting Manafort. “It probably reflects the attitude of a lot of people in America — over 70 percent think she’s guilty and don’t understand why justice wasn’t done,” Manafort continued. “Frankly, that plays right into the narrative of why things need to change in Washington, because there’s special justice for some and it’s not equal justice.”
Yeah, right. Meanwhile, Manafort’s questionable past in his dealings with Putin’s allies who paid him millions and his continued dealing with Russians was totally overlooked by the campaign. After all, he was the campaign chairman.
But now it all comes to roost. Trump is still chanting various versions of ‘lock her up’ in his tweets, but now it’s just a pathetic attempt to distract from the real game – taking down his people, and maybe POTUS himself – by the special prosecutor, who happens to be Republican. Or at least he was when he started this investigation!
Meanwhile, no one has to chant lock him up when it comes to Manafort. Justice is underway in his case. Even though it’s unclear from the infamous slogan whether Manafort, Trump and his allies thought they should bother giving Hillary a trial, Manafort will get his day in court. The trickster is laughing.