Late Night Open Thread: The Trump / A$AP Rocky Conundrum

Normally I would have been relieved not to be required to have an opinion on rapper A$AP Rocky’s innocence or guilt. But I did wonder, as a very white person and an old one at that, if Trump’s indignant ‘appeals’ to the Swedish justice system went beyond You don’t understand our folkways! He’s a celebrity! He has money! Eugene Scott’s report at the Washington Post was illuminating:

A$AP Rocky, whose legal name is Rakim Mayers, has been accused of beating a man in the street on June 30 in central Stockholm.

In a video of the alleged assault, the rapper and those with him apparently threw a man to the ground before kicking and punching him.

Another video posted to A$AP Rocky’s Instagram account claims that the men followed him for four blocks and had repeatedly been asked to leave the artist alone…

Trump, a celebrity before he was a politician, appears to give more credence to the words of black musicians than he does black people working in policy and advocacy. He tweeted that he got involved with the effort to release A$AP Rocky after a request from Kanye West. Last year, he demonstrated his commitment to sentencing reform by commuting the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson after Kim Kardashian West advocated for that.

He views entertainers as the most influential voices in black America. That could be in part because Trump does not have a black person working in a senior position in his White House. Some of the people the president mentions most when addressing issues like criminal justice reform and the black unemployment rate are hip-hop artist Kanye West and conservative activist Candace Owens, supporters of the president with no expertise in these areas…

Trump supporters are often criticized for turning a blind eye to or unapologetically supporting and defending the president’s prejudiced comments and positions on race. But in recent years, polling suggests that doing so has become more difficult for some of them. As my colleague Philip Bump wrote: ”Since 2017, even Trump’s base is more skeptical about his views on race. Among Republicans, the density of those who say he respects racial minorities fell 14 points over the past two years. Less than two-thirds of evangelicals now think Trump respects minorities; nearly three-quarters did two years ago.”

This leads some to believe that the attention the president is paying to a black rapper incarcerated abroad is not mainly about winning over black Americans but keeping existing supporters, mostly white Americans, from defecting. The Trump campaign has repeatedly communicated that its political strategy is prioritizing turnout of the base. Showing enough interest in a topic of importance to black Americans to give his surrogates talking points to defend him without deeply engaging in the real conversation could do just that.

Ah, the ever-popular I can’t be a racist, I have a black friend defense. Unfortunately, Sweden is a real country with its own interests, and apart from ruining Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter’s vacation…

…“Of course we have racism in our country, like other countries, but this case is absolutely not about racism.” She added that Swedes have been “a little disappointed . . . and a little hurt” over the doubts cast on the nation’s legal system and “don’t recognize ourselves in the picture that is being portrayed” by the president and other U.S. politicians.

Olofsdotter noted that the two nations have had a close bilateral relationship and that Sweden acts as the United States’ protective power with North Korea, given that Washington does not have formal diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

Asked how the situation could be resolved, Olofsdotter said: “This cannot be solved. It’s a legal process. The trial will decide if he’s not guilty, or if he’s guilty what kind of repercussions or punishments.”…

… he’s further convincing the rest of the world that Americans are a bunch of belligerent morons who rely on our bulk to make up for our ignorance:

So let’s just say he didn’t have the inner workings of Sweden’s legal system in mind. Here’s an unsolicited briefing.

As prime minister, you can have your government propose laws and try to get parliament to decide on them, but once that’s done, your role in how they are implemented is absolutely zero. There certainly are countries around the world where the judiciary is little more than an instrument of the arbitrary powers of the ruling strongman, and where the political leadership can send people in and out of prison at their discretion. Sweden is most certainly not one of those countries.

A Swedish prime minister who tries to order a court to release a suspect or dismiss a case is first going to fail and then, with high probability, will be kicked out of office.

I wouldn’t say that our judiciary necessarily handles every single case in a way that is beyond any reproach, but its independence is far preferable to a system of arbitrary justice influenced by the whims of politics, be they domestic or foreign. The independence of the judiciary is rightly seen as a hallmark of a truly free society. In this we are no different from the United States.

In addition to being a free country, we are also a small country. Based on historical experience, we tend to be somewhat allergic to larger powers, be they in our immediate vicinity or not, trying to influence who is brought to justice in our country. If you cave in to one, you could be certain that others might try to do the same. The United States is a country friendly to us — others might not necessarily fit that description.

The three U.S. suspects will get a fair trial. No one doubts that. The outcome will be decided by the court — without any interference by any higher political authority within or outside of the country.

That’s the way it should be in a free society.

No doubt Otto Wambier would approve, were he still around to do so.






52 replies
  1. 1
    PsiFighter37 says:

    This whole thing reeks of something Kanye or Kim Kardashian told Trump about. Absolutely silly.

  2. 2
    Jeffro says:

    Shocked that we are wasting time on trumpov’s latest distraction here…Agree with PSF37, this is totally silly.

    Meanwhile, the DC media is starting to call McConnell a Putin stooge. RUH-ROH!

    McConnell has blocked all such attempts [at curbing Russian interference], including:

    A bipartisan bill requiring Facebook, Google and other Internet companies to disclose purchasers of political ads, to identify foreign influence.

    A bipartisan bill to ease cooperation between state election officials and federal intelligence agencies.

    A bipartisan bill imposing sanctions on any entity that attacks a U.S. election.

    A bipartisan bill with severe new sanctions on Russia for its cybercrimes.

    McConnell has prevented them all from being considered — over and over again. This is the same McConnell who, in the summer of 2016, when briefed by the CIA along with other congressional leaders on Russia’s electoral attacks, questioned the validity of the intelligence and forced a watering down of a warning letter to state officials about the threat, omitting any mention of Russia.

    No amount of alarms sounded by U.S. authorities — even Republicans, even Trump appointees — moves McConnell.

    On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray — Trump’s FBI director — told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Russians “haven’t been deterred enough” and are “absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections.”

    This year, National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats — Trump’s intelligence director — told the Senate Intelligence Committee that “foreign actors will view the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests. We expect them to refine their capabilities and add new tactics.”

    And on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan report finding that “Russian activities demand renewed attention to vulnerabilities in U.S. voting infrastructure.”

    The committee concluded that “urgent steps” are needed “to replace outdated and vulnerable voting systems.” (The $380 million offered since 2016 is a pittance compared with the need.) “Despite the expense, cybersecurity needs to become a higher priority for election-related infrastructure,” the report concluded.

    But one man blocks it all — while offering no alternative of his own.

    Presumably he thinks whatever influence Russia exerts over U.S. elections will benefit him (he’s up for reelection in 2020) and his party.

    “Shame on him,” Schumer said on the Senate floor this week.

    But McConnell has no shame. He is aiding and abetting Putin’s dismantling of Americans’ self-governance. A leader who won’t protect our country from attack is no patriot.

    MORE MORE MORE Dems!

  3. 3
    The Dangerman says:

    You don’t understand our folkways! He’s a celebrity! He has money!

    Uh-uh. It’s that the Saudis own Donald and/or Jared.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    Since 2017, even Trump’s base is more skeptical about his views on race. Among Republicans, the density of those who say he respects racial minorities fell 14 points over the past two years. Less than two-thirds of evangelicals now think Trump respects minorities; nearly three-quarters did two years ago.”

    Wait, is that good or bad for Trump?

  5. 5
    Jeffro says:

    @Baud: It’s bad. Those are (granted, only a few) eyes opening.

  6. 6
    Jay says:

    Harrisburg man arrested for public drunkenness wakes up in jail to find he’s been beaten to a pulp. His lawyer has reviewed jail video and says she knows the culprits: five corrections officers and a cop, who went at him while he was strapped to a chair. https://t.co/NmdkbLpLck pic.twitter.com/CwEOF8BebO— Peter Bonilla (@pebonilla) July 26, 2019

  7. 7
    Yarrow says:

    @Jeffro:

    Shocked that we are wasting time on trumpov’s latest distraction here…Agree with PSF37, this is totally silly.

    Yep. It’s a distraction. What is it Trump doesn’t want people looking at?

    Also, #MoscowMitch should be trending.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @Jeffro:

    Shocked that we are wasting time on trumpov’s latest distraction here

    It’s late Friday night.

  9. 9
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Baud:

    Wait, is that good or bad for Trump?

    Trump’s Base is gonna stick with him, though he violate the corpse of a small blond child on prime-time TV… but that base alone won’t give him enough votes to steal a second term. The argument is that there are ‘independent’ ‘low-info’ voters who’ll show up at the polls, or not, depending on whether they have the plausible deniability of claiming Trump is just “misunderstood” — really he loves America, and celebrities, even if they’re not white / rap musicians, as long as they have enough money!

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    I’ll never understand people who want to live in tiny houses.

  11. 11
    debbie says:

    Trump’s pretense at being concerned for the “African American Community” is pathetic.

  12. 12
    debbie says:

    @Yarrow:

    Yep. It’s a distraction. What is it Trump doesn’t want people looking at?

    All of his previous tweets about POC.

  13. 13
    debbie says:

    Can’t imagine why “All of his previous tweets about POC.” needs moderation.

  14. 14
    Jeffro says:

    @Yarrow: Epstein, the latest moves in the House Judiciary Committee, the slow economic growth numbers, the report that North Korea has built an additional 12 nukes while he’s been busy receiving “beautiful” letters, etc.

    Just a few things.

    Our media sux

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @debbie: Indeed it is. Everything about Donald is pathetic.

  16. 16
    Jeffro says:

    @Baud: Worse, it’s still 5-6 weeks ’til Labor Day weekend, which means no god-fearing American is going to be paying attention to jack-squat for 6-7 weeks.

    Which is how nature intended, or at least a nation founded on “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness*”

    *in really small calligraphy, the Founders wrote “and for Pete’s sake, just chill out until mid-September restoreth thy sense and drive in all things”. ;)

  17. 17
    Yarrow says:

    @Jeffro: Yep. Every time Trump does one of these things that gets the media all excited I start looking around at what it is he doesn’t want us to see. He’s good at conman tricks and getting people to look where he wants them to look is just another conman trick.

  18. 18
    Jay says:

    The Russian journalist detained and charged under a “mind control” law for referencing Orwell in a story about the torture of an academic has been found guilty: https://t.co/tKC4nRniWJ pic.twitter.com/d8gPDKcA73— Sarah McLaughlin (@sarahemclaugh) July 26, 2019

  19. 19
    FelonyGovt says:

    OT has there been any news from Immanetize about the Immp?

  20. 20
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Yarrow: Moscow Mitch the Kremlin’s bitch?

  21. 21
    Jay says:

    @Baud:

    It’s what they can afford. Beats the back seat of their car.

  22. 22
    Yarrow says:

    @FelonyGovt: I haven’t seen an update since this morning where he checking in and reported that everything went as well as it possibly could. Very good news.

    @mrmoshpotato: Pretty much.

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    @Jay:

    Most of the people I see on the show seem to make it a choice unrelated to financial need.

  24. 24
    Jeffro says:

    @mrmoshpotato: There are already t-shirts!

  25. 25
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Baud:

    I’ll never understand people who want to live in tiny houses.

    Oh no. The White House is going to be a downgrade from Baud Manor for you.

  26. 26
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Jeffro: Link please!

  27. 27
    Steeplejack says:

    OMG, perfect takeoff on the song “Shaft” about Joe Biden to open Colbert’s show.

  28. 28
    eemom says:

    There’s an Assange joke in here somewhere…. 🤔

  29. 29
    Brachiator says:

    “The attention the president is paying to a black rapper incarcerated abroad is not mainly about winning over black Americans but keeping existing supporters, mostly white Americans, from defecting.”

    Trump doesn’t care about winning over black Americans, nor is he fearful of losing any supporters. But even though he is deeply racist, he doesn’t want to be called out for his racism. He expects, demands that even his enemies love him, or at least show him a little affection.

    As a bonus, his racist supporters get to bask in the reflected glory of Trump’s magnanimity. If he cares about Rocky, surely they also are absolved of all their bigotry.

  30. 30
    waspuppet says:

    @PsiFighter37: This is how Trump thinks it works. Someone knows the president and the president talks to the other president and it’s done. This is how Trump thinks it should work. It’s how it does work in the countries Trump clearly prefers to this one. It’s “efficient” and “businesslike” and it “cuts red tape.”

  31. 31
    Mike in NC says:

    Seems like Fat Bastard can only relate to other airhead celebrities. That’s what happens when racist morons vote for a dipshit reality TV show host. Who cooodanode how that would work out???

    Tomorrow we depart for two weeks in Europe, where apparently the continent is on fire. What global warming???

  32. 32
    Jay says:

    @Baud:

    Hard to say. Here, “tiny houses” cost upfront what a down payment on what a minimal house, if you can find one, will cost you.

    Free and clear, with no space to induldge in the “consumer economy”,

    Vs. 1500 sq feet and a $1200 a month mortgage for 30 years, but space, until the first kid arrives.

    But I don’t know much, just live in a 720sq ft house, because that’s all we need and a bit more.

    It’s a reality TV show, so, much of it ain’t real.

  33. 33
    Another Scott says:

    @waspuppet: +1

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  34. 34
    Anne Laurie says:

    @FelonyGovt: As of this morning:

    Immanentize says:
    July 26, 2019 at 7:36 am (Edit)
    … Just a quick drive-by update to tell you that the Immp’s surgery went as well as it possibly could.

    The surgeon couldn’t see any sign of cancer on the stomach, so microscopic amounts there, and there seems to be no involvement with the nearby lymph nodes. Whew! But they will have to biopsy those.

    The kid looks great, but wan. And he was pretty much out of it all yesterday. But I know he is OK because after surgery in post-op I was smoothing down his hair and he looked up at me and said, “Dad, please stop petting me.”

    Today they plan to get him out of bed and on his feet. Maybe he’ll get the ‘nose down the throat tube’ out too….

    Back to the hospital in a few minutes….

    If there’s something more current, hopefully someone else will update us.

  35. 35
    oatler. says:

    Like Michael Caine in “Get Carter”, I get the feeling that a lot of people know stuff they aren’t telling me…

  36. 36
    Brachiator says:

    @Jeffro:

    Shocked that we are wasting time on trumpov’s latest distraction here…Agree with PSF37, this is totally silly.

    Not that silly to Rocky.

    However, Trump makes almost any serious subject a little less serious than it should be.

  37. 37
    Yarrow says:

    It’s worth clicking through to see the photo.

    It’s #FloridaMan Night at @JaxShrimp ‼️

    Let’s get weird. @BenMurphyTV & yours truly coming at ya live on @FCN2go at 5/5:30/6! #TeamSideline pic.twitter.com/o8PYkRaqQa
    — Mia O'Brien (@MiaOBrienTV) July 26, 2019

  38. 38
    joel hanes says:

    @waspuppet:

    If only this blog had upvotes
    Trump models himself as an adult after wise guys
    “That’s what makes me smart.”

  39. 39
    danielx says:

    Where there is an opportunity to be an obnoxious fool, the President* will not be found wanting.

  40. 40
    Aleta says:

    Every few months I think about that story that floated like a wooden witch around the time of the 2017 inauguration, telling us T-r is related to white royalty. I can’t get it out of my head. “This will bury the rumors of stealing,” the fugitive says to the bathroom mirror. I found one of the planted stories here: https://icelandmonitor.mbl.is/news/culture_and_living/2017/01/24/donald_trump_is_related_to_most_icelanders_and_dani/

    Trump is a descendant of King Christian I of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Trump can also trace his ancestry to the Scottish royalty. Christian I of Denmark was the father of Queen Margaret of Scotland, the spouse of King James IV of Scotland. Their son, King James IV of Scotland is also Mr. Trump’s forefather. 

  41. 41
    Brachiator says:

    @waspuppet:

    This is how Trump thinks it works. Someone knows the president and the president talks to the other president and it’s done.

    Yep. You nailed it.

    Trump sees himself as the Wise Guy-in-Chief.

  42. 42
    Ruckus says:

    @Yarrow:
    #MoscowMitch is trending. A lot of solid hits to the groin.

  43. 43
    Ruckus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Pathetic is a bunch of steps above Trump. He has to improve in ways not humanly possible to rise to only pathetic.

  44. 44
    Immanentize says:

    @FelonyGovt:
    I am usually counting sheep at this point, but stopped by and saw your sweet Q. Just got home from the hospital a little while ago. The Immp is doing OK, considering. He is pretty much vague due to the pain meds. He has a catheter and a tube down his nose and throat to the new connection. But, considering it all, everything looks good so far. We will know a bunch more Monday.

    Some of his friends came by this evening and brought him a little pin that looks like a banana but upon closer examination is a little cartoon stomach. So fine.

    Also, best laugh of the day was when I was texting my friend in Texas who asked when he is coming home. I told her a week to ten days. She replied, WHOA! I told her, they took out his stomach!!!11! She replied,
    They took a baby out of me and kicked me to the curb in two days.

    I love my friends.

  45. 45
    Yarrow says:

    @Immanentize: Thanks for checking in. Glad he’s doing so well. His friends sound like good friends. So do yours. Get some rest and take care of yourself.

  46. 46
    Brachiator says:

    @Immanentize:

    They took a baby out of me and kicked me to the curd in two days.

    That’s the whey they do it.

    You obviously have a lot to deal with. Take care.

  47. 47
    Immanentize says:

    @Yarrow: I have not been able to say so, but I know you have had your own family efforts to handle. But it really has made me smile to see you posting here again. Truly.

  48. 48
    Immanentize says:

    @Brachiator: ouch. But primo.

  49. 49
    Yarrow says:

    @Immanentize: Thanks. Sorry you’re dealing with such a big challenge again but glad it’s going as well as it is.

  50. 50
    ET says:

    tRump follows what gets him favor, ratings, praise and the like by those he wants those from. He doesn’t get angry about what is going on in Saudi Arabia because he doesn’t care and is more interested getting whatever from the prince. He gets “angry” about the rapper cause the Kardashian asked him for help and tRump desperately wants favor from the entertainment famous. After all, this (and ratings for the Apprentice) are the only reason he ran for office. The rubbing shoulders with sports teams and big stars is important to him and most of them treat him like he has the plague. Except Kim and Kayne. Hence why this rapper thing has so animated him.

  51. 51
    Matt says:

    Less than two-thirds of evangelicals now think Trump respects minorities; nearly three-quarters did two years ago.

    Hot take: people who are this delusional shouldn’t be driving cars unassisted, nevermind voting.

  52. 52
    majii says:

    @PsiFighter37: Persons like A$AP Rocky aren’t role models for Black Americans. This is something I notice every time Trump does something he thinks is meant to help “the African American” in some way or another. The folks don’t speak for a majority of blacks in America. I didn’t even know who he was until I read about him being in trouble. My mom and dad were my role models. I don’t give a rat’s patootie about A$AP Rocky. He went to Sweden, broke the nation’s law[s,] and now he is being held to account for that. Trump & Co. don’t seem to realize that all of us aren’t the same. When I hear Trump or one of his minions mention what he has done for AAs, I get sick to my stomach. I had completed college, earned more than one graduate degree, taught high school for 33 years, and retired before Trump announced his run for POTUS, and I’m supposed to be thankful to him for something? I never saw any of those who are saying this sitting beside me in those segregated spaces I was forced to use for the first 18 years of my life, at UGA, or in any of the classrooms in which I taught, so they can GTFO of my face with this BS.

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