By comparing Paul Manafort to Al Capone, Trump reminded Americans of just how corrupt and shady his presidential campaign was.
In a Wednesday tweet, Trump compared Paul Manafort, his own former campaign chairman, to Al Capone — one of the most notorious and reviled crime figures in American history.
Trump wrote: "Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and 'Public Enemy Number One,' or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement - although convicted of nothing?"
Manafort is currently on trial for illegally taking payments from shady foreign figures without disclosing those funds to the government.
It is extremely strange for Trump to casually compare the person who helped get him elected to the highest office in the land to someone like Capone.
Capone, aka "Scarface," was the head of the so-called Chicago Outfit, a multi-state crime syndicate that terrorized America in the late 1920s. In reaction to Prohibition, Capone's mob illegally sold alcohol throughout the country and presided over a criminal enterprise that killed hundreds of people. He was eventually arrested and convicted of tax evasion.
Perhaps Trump sees echoes of Capone in how Manafort ran the campaign. After all, there have already been multiple convictions, guilty pleas, and indictments of key Trump campaign figures — which was also the case when the government worked to prosecute Capone and his "outfit."
Trump seems to be complaining, without evidence, that Manafort is being treated worse than Capone, but that Capone was the worse criminal.
However, Manafort himself reported being treated like a "VIP" in jail. And he has no one but himself to blame for sitting behind bars instead of being released on bail to await his trial.
A judge revoked Manafort's bail and sent him to jail in June because Manafort allegedly tried to tamper with witnesses in his case.
While Manafort was reportedly sent to solitary confinement for his own safety, he was actually set up with very cushy accommodations — including access to a private laptop and a separate room to meet with his legal team.
Usually, prisoners in solitary confinement are locked in a small, windowless room with no human contact, which amounts to psychological torture.
Trump has tried to distance himself from Manafort. But Manafort was with the Trump campaign for five months, during which he was a key figure in securing Trump's nomination and in manipulating the party platform.
Manafort was also the one who got Trump to pick Mike Pence as his running mate.
Trump seems to think that invoking Capone, who was once described as "Public Enemy No. 1," will help his case by making the multiple criminal investigations into top Trump campaign officials seem ridiculous.
Instead, it's just reminding Americans of how shady and corrupt Team Trump has been all along.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.