One thing President Trump was consistent about for his entire life was the need to deter criminals, particularly dangerous drug traffickers who are often arrested for other crimes but plead down to drug charges. Sadly, rather than holding him in line to where his heart lies, so-called conservative think tanks and media personalities joined with senior adviser Jared Kushner in placing the Trump seal of approval on jailbreak at a time when Republicans could have used it to jujitsu the Democrat gun control agenda. Now, it appears that the president never supported this nonsense after all.
Earlier Tuesday, Politico reported that Kushner tried to sell Trump on pitching jailbreak as a winning issue for the election.
“It was clear he thinks it’s a total dud,” said a person familiar with the meeting. “He made it abundantly clear he doesn’t think it’s worth talking about.”
Actually, it is worth talking about in the sense that it’s worth hanging weak-on-crime initiatives around the necks of Democrats in what would be one of the best ways to win back white suburban voters. Yet, Kushner sullied Trump’s name on the issue and caused him to lose this issue as a talking point against Democrats on crime, drugs, and guns.
One source at that meeting told Politico that the president is “really mad that he did it” and is “furious” over Kushner’s inane assumption that “he’s going to get all these votes of all these felons.”
Normally, I’d know better than to trust anonymous sources at Politico, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is true anyway. Trump literally said the opposite of the jailbreak talking points his entire life. And even two months after he signed the bill, he still called for the death penalty for the very sort of traffickers that this bill lets out. It truly is pathetic how so many “conservatives” went along with this simply because they placed Trump-worship over principle, all the while not even realizing that this didn’t come from Trump, but his liberal son-in-law and the Koch-tied staffers in the White House.
However, it’s not too late to right the ship. The choices placed before the president should not be either touting his joining with jailbreak or remaining silent altogether. There is a third option: going on offense and blaming Democrats and liberal Republicans for weak-on-crime policies that are bringing back the crime wave after 25 years of reduced violent crime. He can run against Democrats releasing gun felons from prison while trying to take guns away from law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from the crime wave.
Trump could win back suburban voters by running against the Chicago model. What is the Chicago model? A hellhole of free bail, parole, and jailbreak for the worst gun felons to continue racking up the equivalent of a mass shooting body counts every weekend while disarming peaceful citizens.
The latest case of pursuing reduced prison population at all costs is Raheem Hinton. CWBChicago reports that Hinton, who had a lengthy rap sheet with gun offenses, even as a minor, was released by a Cook County judge after paying just $5,000 for a bond deposit despite illegally possessing a gun while running from police yet again. Just eight days later, on Sept. 11, police caught Hinton, who is now 20 years old, again illegally possessing a gun. Liberal cities, with the strictest gun laws on peaceful citizens, won’t even enforce the laws on convicted felons who were caught possessing guns as minors. Meanwhile, the same people want to raise the age for purchasing a lawful firearm!
That same Cook County judge, Peter Gonzalez, let out a convicted armed robber and carjacker from jail without bond after he was subsequently caught bringing a handgun into Soldier Field. If you want to know why, in 2010, there were 72,000 NICS gun background check denials, yet only 13 federal gun prosecutions, the desire to “not incarcerate” is a big part of it.
This all began with the Parkland, Florida, shooting, which was all about “criminal justice reform” and the iron-clad opposition to locking up violent juveniles. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee joined with Democrats the very day after Parkland in February 2018 to reduce sentencing for gun felons in a bill that became the forerunner to the First Step Act. That was Trump’s perfect opportunity to hang the ultimate hypocrisy around their necks.
Trump would be wise to follow Ronald Reagan’s example and run against liberal judges releasing violent criminals and gun felons and promising to pass true criminal justice reform to get tougher on sentencing and closing the “assault” career criminal loopholes.
Monday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Atlanta Repeat Offender Commission (AROC) study found just 23 percent of those with three or more felony convictions were sentenced to any sort of confinement by Fulton County judges. And the numbers keep dropping as pressure builds (from the elites, not from the people) to reduce the prison population rather than reduce crime.
As one rare smart “GOP aide” told Politico, “Any smart political person would not go out bragging that they let criminals out of jail.” Or as Trump himself wrote in “The America We Deserve,” “The next time you hear someone saying there are too many people in prison, ask them how many thugs they’re willing to relocate to their neighborhood. The answer: None.”
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.