New York Times Runs Fluffy Profile Of Law Prof Who Advised Trump How To Destroy Democracy

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Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt wrote a profile about John Eastman, the lawyer who laid out a six-step plan to ignore official election results and instead install Donald Trump as president for life, which would've likely plunged the country into another bloody Civil War. He's a bad guy, and while I'm open to sympathetic portraits of historical villains, I prefer to see them in Hamilton and Jesus Christ Superstar, not Saturday's edition of the Times.

You know you're in trouble when this is the article's subhead: "John Eastman was a little-known but respected conservative lawyer. Then he became influential with Donald Trump — and counseled him on how to retain power after losing the election."

For the billionth time, there was no legal way for Trump to remain president after he lost the presidential election. This is why we have elections and not trials by combat. Trump decisively lost both the popular vote and the Electoral College, which is already affirmative action for Republican presidential candidates. Trump spent two months trying to overturn a free and fair election, and despite losing every possible legal challenge, his actions only grew more insidious until a mob he summoned to Washington, DC, literally stormed the Capitol.


It took the Times more than a week to actually report on Eastman's coup memo, at least outside the opinion pages. And this drivel misses the larger point that America was close to a constitutional crisis, the chief ringleader is still at large, and remains the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Also, Haberman and Schmidt write that Eastman's memo is only what "Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans have likened to a blueprint for a coup," as if his obvious proposal for an obvious coup isn't obvious. They also implicitly describe GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger as an “anti-Trump Republican," as though this is just a personal issue. Kinzinger voted for Trump twice and supported most of his policies, but Kinzinger drew the line at literal coups and violent insurrections. Bill Kristol prefers the term “pro-democracy Republican," but that still feels like a contradiction in terms.

The article doesn't mention that Eastman is chairman of the board of the anti-LGBTQ hate group the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). It eventually gets around to mentioning that Eastman wrote a gross racist op-ed suggesting then-vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris wasn't fully an American citizen and thus wasn't eligible for the job. This apparently endeared him to the birther-in-chief.

Mr. Eastman had put himself on the radar of Mr. Trump's political aides during the election when Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to Mr. Trump's campaign, had shared on Twitter an article Mr. Eastman had written. The article, in an echo of racist questions stoked by Mr. Trump about where President Barack Obama had been born, questioned whether Kamala Harris, Mr. Biden's running mate, could legally become president because her parents had not been born in the United States.

Jenna Ellis was a member of Trump's "elite strike force" of lawyers that promoted the Big Lie that eventually led to the Capitol attack on January 6. Ellis is still somehow licensed to practice law.

Harris is obviously an American citizen, so it would appear Eastman is both racist and bad at law. And apparently he's been at this for a while now. He advised Trump in 2019 on how to unilaterally impose limits on birthright citizenship, which is a constitutional right the president can't abolish no matter how much he hates brown people.

As Mr. Trump hints at another run in 2024, Mr. Eastman remains a bridge between the former president and the continuing efforts by some of his supporters to promote specious allegations of widespread election fraud in 2020 and to undercut faith in the electoral system.

For fuck's sake, the paper of supposed record is reporting on Trump's ongoing anti-democratic efforts as if he's simply planning a political rematch against President Joe Biden. The last time Trump ran for president, it ended in violence and death.

In a series of interviews, Mr. Eastman said he was continuing to investigate reports of election fraud and was writing a book on the subject.

There are no legitimate reports of widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Eastman is informing the Times that he plans to spend the next couple years fomenting distrust in the electoral process.

A Trump run in 2024 is an electoral asteroid hurtling toward the nation, and the Times is either unwilling or incapable of acknowledging the threat.

[New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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