Editorial: He should pay for defiling our property

File Photo By Tina Giuliano/Cronkite News

Column By John Young

We have been remodeling our property.

The ketchup stains are gone. The glass shards at the Capitol, too.

The former tenant who’s given a bad name to scoundrels everywhere has been replaced by someone who honors the place with his demeanor and sense of history.

We Americans can feel good about the changes on the property we own: the White House. I do.

At the same time, I can only feel rage at the man who defiled it. And at the partisans who rationalize his every action. Every. Single. One.

— Lies and idiocy that contributed to so much suffering in a horrific pandemic.

— Words that consecrated hatred toward people of any color other than his, whatever that is.

— A game of footsie with war criminal Vladimir Putin, who along with the Electoral College and apathetic voters helped him gain the presidency.

— An unspeakable act of extortion, dangling life-or-death aid before Ukraine’s eyes to a raw political favor.

— A bloody insurrection at his urging, which he watched on TV with Cheshire contentment.

— A sexual assault for which a jury found him liable for millions.

— A hush money scheme for which he’s been indicted.

And now: his indictment for how he handled our national secrets and obstructed lawful efforts to secure them and keep them safe.

“Those are my boxes,” he said.

No, those are my boxes — our boxes.

See the Republicans rush to dismiss the matter. They dare not read the indictment. They dare not mention the grand jury that signed onto this, as did the one in Manhattan and the civil jury in the defamation case over his sexual predation.

Is it Joe Biden behind all this or George Soros? Get your conspiracies straight.

I dare any of the “Well, but . . .” chorus to digest any number of fact-check rundowns regarding Donald Trump’s wide-ranging and inventive explanations of what he did with secret documents.

The biggest whopper, aside from, “I can declassify them with my mind,” is that Joe Biden has done the same thing, hiding thousands of documents he shouldn’t have. Trump even has the exact number: “1,850 boxes.”

Point of fact, the boxes in question – Biden’s senatorial papers — are safely stored at the University of Delaware. They are not leaning beside a toilet or spilled in a closet. As did Mike Pence when he found out that some classified material was in his possession, Biden gave the FBI permission to go through every one of those boxes to see if anything was there that shouldn’t have been.

All Donald Trump had to do was cooperate with the national archives and we wouldn’t be talking about this.

So, just keep rationalizing what the former president did with our property — those papers. A Florida grand jury wasn’t so inclined.

Last month when a civil jury socked Trump with a $5 million judgment for what he did to and said about author E. Jean Carroll, I checked foxnews.com to see how the story was being treated. Not prominently, that’s how. In fact, it got just about the same play as the Republican claim that Homeland Security Secretary Alexandro Mayorkas had violated the Hatch Act, barring federal employees from conducting partisan politics from official posts.

I didn’t check at the time, but I’ll bet my mortgage that Fox News said not a word about the most egregious violation in the history of the Hatch Act: the Republicans using my property – the White House – to stage the culmination of their 2020 convention when Trump accepted the nomination for his re-election run.

Republicans (and Fox News) couldn’t care less about that violation of that law. They had dismissed every concern about any law their party leader might break or bend.

Fortunately, the Justice Department will not. Fortunately, a grand jury in Florida has set in motion the trial of a man who clearly believes the law, whether criminal or civil, doesn’t apply to him.

That place he defiled – the White House – wasn’t his. It’s yours and mine. Those classified papers he took, those boxes, aren’t his. They’re yours and mine.

That’s what the law says.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email him at jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author.