Donald Trump’s demands for absolute loyalty are well-documented. Now, however, Rolling Stone is taking a closer look at Trump’s expectations – that his people will offer unflinching loyalty – and asking whether Trump’s loyalty demands have been strategically misguided.
“Throughout the criminal investigations of Donald Trump,” Rolling Stone wrote, “the former president has expected his co-defendants, alleged co-conspirators, and potential witnesses for the prosecution to stay fiercely loyal to him. This has included…[Trump’s] belief that some of his former lieutenants should risk jail time rather than turn on him.”
But has the plan backfired?
“As [Trump has] faced an array of criminal charges, Trump’s demands for aides and lawyers to martyr themselves for him hasn’t saved him. If anything, it’s done the opposite, driving several possible key witnesses to consider throwing Trump under the bus before he gets the chance to do it them.”
The problem for Trump, as Rolling Stone points out, is that the expectation of unyielding loyalty only goes one way; Trump never reciprocates.
Loyalty Is the Word Donald Trump Forgets
Treat others as you wish to be treated. Trump could likely have improved his circumstances had he adhered to the golden rule, had he provided his foot soldiers with the exacting loyalty that Trump himself demanded. But Trump’s lack of loyalty has inspired former Trump confidants to save their own skin, knowing full well that Trump will always choose himself over another.
Rolling Stone, having spoken with several potential Trump-case witnesses, advisers, and sources, found that former Trump-worlders are calculating for Trump’s inevitable betrayal, and accordingly, are crafting “legal strategies focused on self-preservation.”
Apparently, Team Trump eve held a search for “patsies and fall guys” willing to endure prison time in lieu of Trump himself.
“If I went to jail for Donald Trump, if I did that, what would that do for me and my family?” a former Trump administration official told Rolling Stone. “I don’t think he would even give us lifetime Mar-a-Lago memberships if I did that for him.”
Trump witnesses are keenly aware of Sidney Powell’s example. Powell, a former Trump attorney, went to work on behalf of Trump after the 2020 election, filing lawsuits and making claims of voter fraud. Powell’s advocacy got her sanctioned, sued, and charged. Yet, Trump has failed to show any public appreciation for Powell’s efforts. Actually, “Trump has gone out of his way to claim publicly that Powell was never his attorney while other Trump allies have worked ot try to pin the blame for any criminal wrongdoing after the election on her.”
So, the message is clear: be loyal to Trump at your own risk.
“In private,” Rolling Stone reported, “Trump reserves some of his harshest words for one-time loyalists who are willing to cut deals with prosecutors, securing light sentences in exchange for likely testigying against Trump and others.”
As former Trump-world fixer Michael Cohen put it: “Trump’s view of loyalty is one way, and that one way benefits only him.”
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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