Trump jokes about “destroying” Texas politician

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Uh-oh: In a conversation with a Texas sheriff about that state’s civil forfeiture laws — in which the state’s sheriff’s can rake in a lot of cash by stealing citizen’s property — the sheriff complained about a state senator who was trying to abolish the law, and Trump responded, “”Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.”

You can see the video of the joke here.

As noted at the first link above, Trump is clearly joking. Nonetheless, this is not something anyone with Trump’s power should joke about. It is similar to a joke Obama cracked early in his administration about using the IRS to squelch his opponents. The leftist press dismissed it, but that was exactly what Obama eventually did, weaponize the IRS as a tool to attack his political opponents.

I might support some of Trump’s policies, but this statement I find disgusting. There are plenty of lawbreakers (such as the rioters in Berkeley) that Trump would be justified in attacking and “destroying.” A legally elected legislator proposing reasonable changes to law is not one of them. It is this kind of behavior that fueled my doubts about Trump from the start. Worse, it is this kind of behavior that gives ammunition to violent rioters like those in Berkeley. As Trump might tweet, “Very bad!”



  • mpthompson

    Robert, sadly, I have to agree with you on this. Trump has no business making such a statement, joking or not, over a state-level policy. Hopefully he isn’t surrounded by “yes men” and some of his senior level staff had a discussion with him about the optics that such a statement creates. On the other hand, I feel this is part of the price of electing a non-politician into the presidency so I can be a bit forgiving on this. I have hope that Trump is more self-aware than he is otherwise portrayed and we’ll see less of this kind of stuff in the future.

  • Cotour

    This issue of asset forfeiture without a conviction practiced by law enforcement is an outright and on going abuse of power.

    This where the police can just take property such as cash, cars and houses etc. from persons suspected of breaking the law and use those funds to finance their own law enforcement operations. This practice has been abused by many law enforcement departments because the temptation exists to do just that, confiscate the property of the “guilty”, without any due process of law or conviction to finance their own operations.

    What is the nature of man? To abuse power.
    (Especially when law enforcement, always in need for the best equipment and funding is the arbiter of guilt. Temptation becomes great.)

    That truth and absolute statement about abuse of power, especially when we are talking about government agencies and the real and awesome power that they have to strip individuals of their rights and property without recourse is exactly why the Constitution was written. And that abuse must never be encouraged and allowed to prevail, especially without the due process of law and only some level of suspicion. Yes, even for the lowliest known career criminal.

    Mr. Trump, you have been put on notice! Do not be so casual about such things.

  • LocalFluff

    Just a minute earlier, he said that the sheriffs were welcome to say something in public, but warned them that it is live broadcast all over the world. So the situation is that it would be destructive to the career state politician to be named by his sheriff, who doesn’t name him. Trump jokes that of course the sheriff won’t say the name.

    Destroying an elected politician’s career means that people stop want to vote for him/her. Refusing to fight violent crime would be a good reason not to reelect the person concerned. Just saying in public what that politician has done leaves it to the voters to consider.

    Who wants all politicians to always only talk like robots with a recombination of the same old allowed phrases and words? A state legislator who actively contributes to murders has his career destroyed, however could that be controversial??

  • wayne

    Yepper, agree with Mr. Z on this one. Trump needs to be careful about sayin’ that sorta stuff.
    –It is a “big deal,” in some respects, but concurrently the lefty media is looking for ANY excuse to attack Trump, all the more reason for him to remain “measured.” (They will attack Trump no matter what, but best to not give them anything to work-with. We all know it’s “predominately fake manufactured outrage,” but as well, it gives us a glimpse into a side of Trump for which we need to be aware.)
    Cotour– yes, good stuff & good phrase –“not so casual about such things.”
    mpthompson– these civil-forfeiture laws started at the Federal level and worked their way down to the State and Local level. ( I do believe in Federalism & appreciate you do as well.) I slam Trump on this one for other reasons, but certainly get your general point.
    –The genesis of this stealing-binge is older than we maybe consciously realize. Unfortunately– a lot of people supported the Reagan era “war on drugs,” [a repeat of Nixon’s “war on drugs.’] and we wound up with increasingly draconian laws regarding “crime” and straight out stealing.
    We have always made attempts to confiscate the proceeds of “crime,” but it has flipped from “we have to prove it was illegal to take your stuff,” 180 degrees over to, “prove your stuff & money is legal, and we might give it back to you.”
    That I believe, is a perfect example of a misguided, primarily center-right opinion, regarding “illegal drugs,” that has degraded into a complete racket over time.
    And in the process– the legal system is busily enshrining these practices under the color of legit Law.

    -Not too pleased as well, when Trump quasi-threatens private Business over where they locate or how they operate as individual concerns.

  • Garry

    Trump’s term so far has been a fascinating mix of decisive action I’d compare to cutting the Gordian knot (something I had looked forward to), and amateur hour.

    One way it’s come out is in things he has said, such as the case here, and in suggesting to O’Reilly that the US has done things as bad as Putin has. In an echo of many similar events during the campaign, when I heard O’Reilly ask the question, I thought it was a softball, and waited for Trump to knock it out of the park. Instead he set himself up for problems.

    Trump was not a politician, but whether he likes it or not, he is one now. Yes, political speak is fraught with problems, but that doesn’t mean that a little discretion is a bad thing.

    Another way amateur hour is manifesting itself is in action. The temporary ban on travel from 7 countries was mishandled in its execution; before they rolled it out they should have had issued concrete guidelines to Homeland Security, the people who have to implement it, to avoid the kind of chaos that happened. They also should have prepared better for last night’s Circuit Court hearing. Not having an Attorney General didn’t help matters, but the apparent incompetence goes beyond that.

    I hope that Trump and his people learn quickly how to be more careful in what they say and in how they implement things. I share a lot of his stated goals, but am becoming more skeptical of his ability to get them done.

    None of this is surprising.

  • wayne

    Garry- good stuff.

  • pzatchok

    The forfeiture laws in Texas are not as bad as in some states due to the Texas Homestead Law.

    Basically they cannot take your last real property like your home. business or car.

    Though its a free for all with other items.

  • cotour

    Three weeks in and still on the learning curve in spite of bolting out of the gate and attempting to set an aggressive forward moving agenda. Things will tend to begin to equalize but it will take a bit of time, even for Trump.

  • LocalFluff

    Cotour, Trump will never compromise. He never has. Don’t fool yourself. It is the rest who have some learning to do.

  • Cotour

    When I say learning curve, I mean him learning how to install his brand of manipulation into Washington politics in order to get done what he needs to get done. I am not suggesting that he will be the compromiser.

    I should have been clearer.

  • Cotour

    To continue my point: Trump as a demonstration of my point about him on the learning curve, his learning curve to manipulate, is ready to “destroy” ( ”Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.”) a politicians career if he opposes him. That is a strategy that I support, if its focused on the correct issue. I just do not believe that this civil forfeiture is the correct issue, IMO it supports the abuse of power by government.

  • Des

    I agree with you completely Robert. Civil forfeiture laws do need reformed. I doubt you are a John Oliver fan but he did a very good program on how the laws are abused

  • Garry

    Cotour, I’m looking for signs of Trump (or his inner circle) learning, but so far I don’t see any. Have you seen any that I’m missing? Perhaps it’s too early to see learning in action, but it’s one of the main things I’m looking for.

  • Cotour

    I hear you, IMO its too early.

  • LocalFluff

    Trump says that if the sheriff mentions in public the name of the state legislator who lets Mexican drug dealers keep their wealth, his career would be destroyed because no one who doesn’t personally wants to be tortured to death by criminals would reelect him.

    What a scandal! A crime against the constitution!!
    No, just the violent lying haters making up an image of their indoctrinated Satan in their sick minds and start screaming about it.

  • LocalFluff

    Another secretary sworn in:
    “- And so help me Trump… God! I mean God! God AND Trump. Please help me anyone who can.”

  • Commodude

    With the complete politicization of the bureaucracy over the last few years, jokes like this are foolish and destructive. It’s blood in the water to a press corps which already loathes the administration.

    Pres. Trump will survive this, but someone needs to pull him aside and educate him. It’s fine to be non-politically correct (frankly it’s refreshing), it’s quite something else to shoot yourself in the foot with completely avoidable miscues.

  • LocalFluff

    @ It is true that a state legislator who participates in mass murder of American citizens by financing Mexican crime cartels would not be reelected, that his career would be destroyed.

    Get used to a president who tells the truth about life and death, who protects you from those who right now are attempting to torture you and your family to death. Forget the inept corruptocrats who talk like a trained machine with words lacking both meaning and action.

    And don’t worry about Trump not knowing how to handle the MSM. He is totally destroying the entire phenomena. I’ll write a book about it when he is done within a year or two:
    “News Media – A Historic Phenomena From Napoleon To Trump”

  • ken anthony

    Maybe Joe Biden could give Trump a few tips?

  • wayne

    ken- good stuff.

    Joe Biden says “you don’t need an AR15, buy a shotgun”.

  • LocalFluff

    @wayne Wow, that’s a great! The “Yoe, buy the Joe Biden shotgun” ad. “I told my wife, if there’s ever a problem, walk out on the balcony and fire two blasts.” (And reload it, trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again)

  • Kirk

    When Sheriff Aubrey brought up the subject of forfeiture Trump responded: “So what do you do? So in other words, they have a huge stash of drugs. So in the old days, you take it. Now we’re criticized if we take it. So who gets it? What happens to it? Tell them to keep it?”

    Did Trump even understand the concept being discussed?


  • wayne

    Obviously he didn’t, at the time.

    >Look up the “Money Laundering Control Act of 1986.” A Reagan era “anti-drug” initiative that consolidated & expanded Fed powers.
    That got the ball rolling, big-time, and it has expanded massively in scope. Part of the perpetual “war on drugs” that took place pretty much the entire 20th century and continues to this day.
    Nobody really cared, as long as “drugs,” were targeted.
    (We zapped Al Capone for tax-evasion, not for murder, racketeering, or bootlegging.)

    >”It’s the politics of contraband.”

    I would pivot slightly and remind everyone– it took a Constitutional Amendment to outlaw alcohol. Now, the FDA & DEA (among numerous alphabet agencies) can administratively “schedule” any substance on Earth, at any time, and bring the full weight of the Feds down upon you.

    Smuggler’s Blues
    Glen Frey

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