THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2022
The question we would have asked: We see where Mary Trump has been interviewed for Slate's Amicus podcast.
The interview was conducted by Dahlia Lithwick. Only part of the interview has been published. The headline on it says this:
Mary Trump on How Her Uncle Keeps Getting Away With It
That's the headline on the piece. As published in Slate, Lithwick's first question was this:
I want to start with you where I just started which is: Why isn’t Donald Trump in jail right now?
Presumably, that question makes sense within the context of the full interview. Having said that, we'll add this:
Mary Trump isn't an expert on any such question as that. In our view, her answer makes that clear:
LITHWICK (9/15/22): I want to start with you where I just started which is: Why isn’t Donald Trump in jail right now?
MARY TRUMP: That is the question of our times. Well, he never has been. I think that is the foundational reason. This is a man who should have been in prison decades ago. He certainly should have been indicted for something. And this is just what happens when there’s no accountability, which leaves room for these countervailing forces to get momentum, and to change the subject. And we see in this most recent ruling by this hack of a judge, Aileen Cannon—she, by postponing what should have happened, gives room for Donald’s enablers and supporters to act as if everything’s fine.
According to Mary Trump, her uncle "should have been in prison decades ago." He "should have been indicted for something," she says, though she doesn't seem to know for what.
Mary Trump isn't an expert, or even a specialist, in matters of criminal law. She doesn't seem to know if her uncle has committed actionable crimes in the past.
It's certainly possible that Donald J. Trump has committed such crimes down through the many long years. Imaginably, some Gotham-based legal specialist might have a lot to say on that particular topic, and on the way financial crimes do and don't get pursued.
That said, Mary Trump doesn't seem to have any such insight. Nor is there any particular reason to think that she should.
In our view, that question went to the wrong person. The question we would have asked Mary Trump would have gone something like this:
Do you think it's possible that your uncle really believes that he won the 2020 election? Based upon your training as a clinical psychologist and your personal acquaintance with your uncle, do you think it's possible that he really believes that?
We'd like to see other (carefully selected) medical specialists asked such questions about Donald J. Trump. Of course, that would be against the rules of the careful, fastidious guild we still describe as a press corps.
Instead, they fantasize about the way the former president should have been locked up decades ago. This is the product our tribunes sell. It's Storyline all the way down.
Mental health / mental illness: Our political world is awash in apparently crazy belief and in sweeping group accusation.
To what extent can these phenomena be illuminated by the expertise of medical specialists? We have no way of knowing that, and our journalists aren't going to ask.