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It’s time to make new laws so Trump can’t run if convicted

Apr 05, 2023

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Adrienne Lawrence

Legal analyst, law professor & award-winning author

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Donald Trump — the first former U.S. president to be criminally indicted — has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts connected to falsifying business records with the “intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof.” Prosecutors allege Trump made false and illegal accounting entries to hide the fact he paid off porn star Stormy Daniels in order to keep her quiet ahead of the 2016 election about a sexual encounter she had with Trump.

Even if Trump is found guilty, he’ll still be able to run for president. Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence argues it’s time we had some laws in place that restrict convicted criminals from becoming president.

Nothing in the Constitution or any statute or other legal precedent stops Trump’s 2024 train. We need rules in place that don’t put our nation in a position where a convicted criminal is also commander in chief. Now that’s not to throw any shade on any leader who’s done time, or was a political prisoner. Because that’s not the situation here. Donald Trump is a twice-impeached former president who is facing charges in New York for cooking the books so he could conceal an affair with a porn star. And he’ll likely be facing charges in Georgia for trying to influence the last presidential election. This man ain’t Nelson Mandela. 

Should Trump be incarcerated, it’ll be because he is a dead ass anti-democratic criminal. There should be something expressly barring him, or anyone else currently imprisoned, on a duly sustained conviction from being in office. But we don’t have those rules because much of our country was basically founded upon a glorified version of a gentleman’s agreement — from the thought that a president won’t appoint a Supreme Court justice at the end of his term to the notion that any candidate facing indictment would withdraw.

We need to stop acting as though decorum dictates behavior today. This isn’t 1906. The former first lady was doing softcore porn. Blowies have been gifted in the West Wing. “Ladies and gentlemen” have been swapped out for more gender-inclusive language. This ain’t Woodrow Wilson’s America. When will our legislature act accordingly? 

Yeah, so I may have been wrong. Never did I think that anything would happen to Donald Trump for his “crimings.” And I guess you shouldn’t sleep on New York. But then again, while the Big Apple may have big plans for our now historic prosecution of a former president, our nation clearly isn’t ready. The fact remains that there is no protocol for this — for what happens after we prosecute a former president who happens to be leading in the polls for the 2024 GOP presidential ticket. Because even if he is convicted, 

Trump can still run for President if he is shipped off to prison. And if he’s elected, he can still access the nuclear codes from Cell block C. That is the problem. Nothing in the Constitution or any statute or other legal precedent stops Trump’s 2024 train. We need rules in place that don’t put our nation in a position where a convicted criminal is also commander-in-chief. Now that’s not to throw any shade on any leader who’s done time, or was a political prisoner? Because that’s not the situation here. Donald Trump is a twice-impeached former president who is facing charges in New York for cooking the books so he could conceal an affair with a porn star. And he’ll likely be facing charges in Georgia for trying to influence the last presidential election. This man ain’t Nelson Mandela. 

Should Trump be incarcerated, it’ll be because he is a dead ass anti-democratic criminal. There should be something expressly barring him or anyone else currently imprisoned on a duly sustained conviction from being in office. But we don’t have those rules because much of our country was basically founded upon a glorified version of a gentleman’s agreement, from the thought that a president won’t appoint a Supreme Court justice at the end of his term to the notion that any candidate facing indictment would withdraw. We need to stop acting as though decorum dictates behavior today. This isn’t 1906. The former First Lady was doing soft core porn. Blowies have been gifted in the West Wing. “Ladies and gentlemen” have been swapped out for more gender-inclusive language. 

This ain’t Woodrow Wilson’s America. When will our legislature act accordingly? Of course, they couldn’t collectively seem to muster the ethical courage to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection, despite the clear evidence. And also, you know, no one seems to know how disqualification works under the 14th Amendment. But something still must be done. Amend the Constitution, pass laws, craft some legislation that acknowledges the realities of temperaments today, so we don’t end up in a situation with the President fundraising commissary cash. 

Decorum went out the window when the minority in our nation elected Donald Trump, and his presence has welcomed the most openly uncouth into our leadership. From George Santos to Marjorie Taylor Greene to Matt Gaetz to Lauren Boebert. The pedigree of leaders in the United States has hit a new level of low and shameless shenanigans have come with it. For that reason, we must prepare for that which our nation’s founders never contemplated. If not do it for America, at least do it for what, the Secret Service, because as it stands, if Trump is convicted, those agents gotta be right there by his side at all times in the prison yard and the showers.

 

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