Bob Franken




Ex-President Donald Trump is up to his old stings. He has turned to the courts to file a class-action lawsuit, waging “a pivotal battle in the defense of the First Amendment.”
At the head of the lucrative “class” is Trump; the defendants are the sprawling social media networks and their heads. He claims that Facebook, Twitter and Google have operated in cahoots with the Democratic Party and Dr. Anthony Fauci, among others, to suppress conservative voices, in particular his.
Trump has been thrown off of Facebook and Twitter for constantly peddling misinformation, which, when you think of their track record, is a low bar. And considering many factors — that Trump governed by tweet, the number of extreme right-wing charlatans that still have a presence on social media, similar legal actions that judges of all political persuasions have tossed out — it’s difficult not to conclude that he’s trying to bamboozle his gullible base. Notice the prominently displayed “Donate” button on the website streaming his remarks, if you get my grift. (I should point out that “in cahoots with” and “bamboozle” are not legal terms. “Defraud” is. And to play it safe, “allegedly” is, too.)
Now remember, this is the guy who popularized the term “fake news,” which meant unerringly that a story was true. He’s the guy who drove a mob to such an anti-USA fever pitch that the members attempted a coup at the Capitol building, with groups of the marauding insurrectionists assaulting journalists — excuse me, allegedly assaulting journalists. So his citing the First Amendment takes a lot of chutzpah. To refresh his base’s memory, Amendment No. 1 protects citizens against the government taking action that jeopardizes such stuff as the “freedom … of the press.” Arguably, as president he represented government each time he referred to reporters as an “enemy of the people,” which was Josef Stalin’s description of reporters.

Trump is no stranger to the courts. He would sue and countersue at the drop of a hat before he was president, and hide behind executive immunity and other shields at the drop of a MAGA hat while he was chief executive. He insists that he had the office “stolen” from him, even though he was laughed out of court when his lawyers presented the most fanciful and flimsiest of legal contrivances, even when the judge was a Trump nominee.
It was all orchestrated by his chief private attorney Rudy Giuliani, either the worst lawyer in the world or the most creative. Hizzoner was so dishonorable that he had his law licenses suspended in both New York and D.C. Do you know how low you have to go to get your law license suspended there? In NYC, the specifications included the charge that he “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large.” Wait, isn’t that what his client was accused of when he was tossed off Facebook and Twitter?
Trump has worse troubles than that. He’s being investigated for shady deals that his corporation pulled off. In fairness, he has not been named in any indictment so far. But his company has, along with the CFO Allen Weisselberg, his longtime money guy, and, tellingly, “individuals” to be named later. That’s in criminal court. He’s also fending off various civil actions. Remember, he doesn’t have the benefit of Giuliani’s advice.
But one thing we can say about Trump: He obviously gets his kicks fighting uphill legal battles. He’s zero for one. A tactic in a class action strategy is getting a friendly judge. He’s filed in three courts. One judge was nominated by George H.W. Bush. The other two by Barack Obama.
But think of all the publicity he’ll get … and all the donations.

© 2021 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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