Celebrities, who typically make more money than most Americans, are often given expensive gifts and are treated like royalty. Those who can most afford the finer things in life rarely pick up the tab. As a result, it has created a culture where there is a sense of entitlement.
Such needs to be remembered whenever former President Donald Trump is mentioned. As one born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Trump is a businessman who can never honestly claim to be truly “self-made.” His extreme wealth brought extreme power, and thanks to his hit NBC TV show The Apprentice, he was also transformed into a major celebrity.
It is, therefore, not the least bit surprising that Trump reacted as he did when it came to the 2020 election and its aftermath. It explains why he refuses to accept his defeat, and it further explains what led to his indictment, as well as his reaction afterward.
Donald Trump: “My Documents”
According to an exclusive report from Rolling Stone back in the summer, even as Donald Trump was facing a federal indictment for failure to hand over classified documents, he told his reports that he demanded the documents be returned.
Not only that, but he repeatedly called them “my documents” and “my boxes” – according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Throughout his post-presidency, Donald Trump has insisted the documents are his, much like a child – and with essentially the same level of logic.
The former president has gone to great lengths, using questionable tactics to make his case. He has insisted that the Presidential Records Act, which was passed in the wake of Watergate to narrow a president’s claims to official documents when they leave opposite, actually does the opposite and entitles him to retain such materials. He cited an obscure part of the Act, section 44 USC 2205(3), which asserts that “Presidential records of a former President shall be available to such former President or the former President’s designated representative.”
Legal experts have countered the claim.
“Whatever one might say about his Presidential Records Act argument, there’s no argument that it immunizes him from criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act,” Brian Greer, an attorney who served in the CIA’s office of general counsel from 2010 to 2018, told Rolling Stone.
Greer added that the Act does not allow a former president to defy a lawful court-ordered subpoena for documents and obstruct justice, as the special counsel alleges Trump did in the indictment.
The Stories Keep Changing
The former president has also repeatedly changed his story about the documents he is reported to have kept, and with whom he may have shared them.
Back in the summer, in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Trump again maintained that he did not have any documents with him during a July 2021 meeting in New Jersey.
“There was no document. That was a massive amount of papers and everything else talking about Iran and other things,” Trump told Baier. “And it may have been held up or may not, but that was not a document. I didn’t have a document, per se. There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories, magazine stories, and articles.”
A recent audio release would seem to further contradict Trump’s past claims.
Back in June, CNN reported that it had obtained an audio recording of a 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the former president discussed holding secret documents he did not declassify. In the recording, Trump is heard riffling through papers and then stating, “This is highly confidential.”
The paper in question was reported to be a secret Pentagon document with plans to attack Iran.
Other Odd Takeaways
During an appearance on CNN in February, Trump’s attorney Timothy Paralatore further suggested that at least one folder marked “Classified Evening Summary” that was found next to his bed was actually used to help the former president sleep.
“He has one of those landline telephones next to his bed, and it has a blue light on it, and it keeps him up at night. So he took the manila folder and put it over, so it would keep the light down, so he could sleep at night,” Parlatore explained, adding that documents even weren’t in the folder.
Perhaps that explains why Trump was so adamant, almost to the point of sounding like a small child, to get his documents back – maybe the light is still flashing and he can’t get to sleep.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.