Why ‘Lock Him Up’ is the Perfect Chant for Donald Trump


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The crowd at Sunday night’s World Series game chanting “Lock him up” when President Donald Trump was shown on the big screen was the perfect way to greet him. And I don’t say that because Trump is a Republican. I say that because Trump has earned it.

There’s little doubt that Trump was stunned when the crowd at Sunday night’s World Series game booed him when he was shown on the screen. You could see it in Trump’s face as it morphed from a joyous smile, to a forced grin to finally a somber look as he realized that thousands were booing him. This must have especially hard for Trump to comprehend given just hours before he had announced the death of the leader of ISIS.

But what Trump doesn’t seem to get is that while eliminating the leader of ISIS was a great thing, it doesn’t in any way erase Trump’s years of bigotry, racism, sexism and cruelty.  The nearly 55% of Americans who disapprove of the job Trump is doing per recent polls will unlikely be moved much, if at all, by the ISIS leader’s death. Especially since Trump used Sunday’s press conference announcing the successful military mission by again desperately trying to eclipse the achievements of President Barack Obama by claiming the killing of Osama bin Laden was big, but the killing of the ISIS leader “is the biggest there is.” (I would love to see Trump dare to say that to the face of thousands of Americans who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks.)

Trump must have been even more pained to next hear thousands scream in unison a chant he made so popular during the 2016 campaign, “Lock Her up,” modified to apply to him.  The more the crowd cheered, the more joy it brought to millions as seen on Twitter.

I understand the concerns of people like Democratic Senator Chris Coons on Monday stating on CNN that he didn’t approve of chant because it reminded him of countries where there is “no rule of law.” That’s true. It does have the feel of a banana republic and that is why so many of us objected when Trump did it at his rallies when speaking of Hillary Clinton.

But Trump has earned the chant of “Lock him up.” Not simply because of his non-stop use of “Lock her up” to demean Hillary Clinton. But, more importantly, he has earned it because of his conduct.

First, there was his acceptance of the help of Russia in 2016. While Robert Mueller didn’t find that Trump criminally conspired with Russia, he did make it clear in his report that that the Trump campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.” In fact, as Mueller testified, the Trump campaign officials “built their messaging strategy” around that stolen information.  This, together with the ten instances of possible obstruction of justice that Trump engaged in as outlined in the Mueller report, sets forth far more than anything Hillary Clinton did in terms of possible criminality.

And, stunningly, the very day after Mueller testified, July 25, Trump was on the phone asking Ukraine’s president to interfere in our 2020 election to help him win. Not only have numerous former prosecutors detailed the crimes that Trump may have committed by doing this from bribery to extortion to violating federal campaign laws, even Fox News’s Andrew Napolitano reached the conclusion that based on the “transcript” Trump released of that phone call, Trump appears to have violated federal laws. As an exasperated Napolitano wrote in an op-ed for Fox News.com about Trump soliciting help for his 2020 campaign from the Ukrainian president, “Trump was just investigated by Mueller for two-and-a-half tumultuous years for allegedly bringing the Russian government into the 2016 election and now he has attempted in one phone call to bring the Ukrainian government into the 2020 election!” Adding, “Does he understand the laws he has sworn to uphold?”

Senator Coons added on CNN in objecting to the “lock him up” chant, “I frankly think the office of the President deserves respect, even when the actions of our President at times don’t.”  In normal times, I likely would have agreed. But these aren’t normal times. This is the time of Trump. And the threat Trump poses to our Constitution and our nation demands that we speak — and even chant — bluntly.

I hope at every event Trump attends between now and when he’s finally out of office we hear the words, “Lock him up.” It’s the perfect way to greet Trump.

Dean Obeidallah, a lawyer, hosts SiriusXM radio’s The Dean Obeidallah show and is a columnist for the Daily Beast and a CNN.com Opinion Contributor.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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