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Maddow Blog | On targeting Hillary Clinton, Trump rewrites history (again)

In World
June 03, 2024

In April, Donald Trump claimed that he could’ve prosecuted Hillary Clinton during his presidency, but he generously decided not to. It would’ve been “a terrible thing” if he’d taken such a step, the Republican claimed. In May, he repeated the claim.

In his latest Fox News appearance, for the third time in as many months, the former president once again said he could’ve locked up his former Democratic rival, but thanks to his gracious magnanimity, that didn’t happen.

This remains a bizarre lie. As regular readers know, Trump publicly and privately begged prosecutors to charge Clinton. Ahead of Election Day 2020 — nearly four years after Clinton’s defeat — Trump again publicly called for the Democrat’s incarceration and lobbied then-Attorney General Barr to prosecute the former secretary of state for reasons unknown.

None of this was kept secret. It happened out in the open. We all saw it play out in public — all of which makes it a strange thing for the presumptive GOP nominee to keep lying about.

But that wasn’t the only Clinton-related comment of note from Trump’s latest Fox interview. When one of the co-hosts noted the Republican’s “lock her up” chants, the former president claimed, “They always said, ‘Lock her up.’”

He quickly added, “I didn’t say, ‘Lock her up,’ but the people said, ‘Lock her up, lock her up.’” It was at that point, according to Trump, that he told his followed to “just relax” and move on from Clinton.

For one thing, Trump didn’t “just relax”; he instead spent four years in the White House trying to prosecute Clinton. For another, the idea that Trump was some how detached from the “lock her up” mantra is every bit as ridiculous. As a Washington Post report summarized:

For now, let’s put aside the oddity of seeing the Republican blame his followers, as if they lack the class that he pretends to represent. Instead, what’s striking about his rhetoric is the degree to which Trump keeps trying to rewrite his own recent history.

Before getting elected, he told Clinton during one of their 2016 debates that if he were running the country, “You’d be in jail.” Around the same time, the future president told a group of supporters, “Lock her up is right.”

A month earlier, responding to “lock her up” chants in Pennsylvania, Trump also told followers, “I agree.”

There are plenty of other examples along these lines.

To be sure, I understand the motivation behind the lies. Trump now wants the public to believe he took the high road against his former rivals, unlike the rascally Biden administration, which is imposing legal crises on him now.

In reality, Trump desperately tried to weaponize federal law enforcement against his perceived foes, and the Biden administration appears to have literally nothing to do with the former president’s prosecutions.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com

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