Donald Trump
Credit: White House/Flickr

NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch recently made the most bizarre argument in defense of Donald Trump.

[The investigators are] trying to Al Capone the president. I mean, you remember. Capone didn’t go down for murder. Elliot Ness didn’t put him in for murder. He went in for tax fraud. Prosecutors didn’t care how he went down as long as he went down. The same goes for Democrats. Whatever avenue is needed to bring down the president, they’ll take it.

In case that sounds familiar, Trump recently compared his former campaign manager Paul Manafort to Al Capone. But Loesch appears to be an intelligent (if not a bit disturbed) human being. Does she not understand that comparing the president to a notorious mob boss is not a great idea?

Jeet Heer responded to all of this on Twitter by saying, “I’m enjoying the new Republican meme that Al Capone got a raw deal.” Remember those days gone by when Trump promised to be the “law and order president?” Now he says that “flipping” ought to be illegal and his enablers are crying crocodile tears over how Al Capone was treated.

Frankly, ever since Trump got elected I’ve been hearing more about the mob than I have since the days of The Godfather series. David Clay Johnston, who has investigated Trump’s mafia ties, explains why that is happening.

No other candidate for the White House this year has anything close to Trump’s record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks. Professor Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, said the closest historical example would be President Warren G. Harding and Teapot Dome, a bribery and bid-rigging scandal in which the interior secretary went to prison. But even that has a key difference: Harding’s associates were corrupt but otherwise legitimate businessmen, not mobsters and drug dealers…

This is part of the Donald Trump story that few know…From the public record and published accounts like that one, it’s possible to assemble a clear picture of what we do know. The picture shows that Trump’s career has benefited from a decades-long and largely successful effort to limit and deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders, con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained as the head of his personal helicopter service.

Let’s pretend that you are trying to defend a guy like that as his associates plead or are found guilty of various crimes. One would assume that the last place you’d go in crafting an argument would be to compare him to Al Capone. But that’s exactly where Loesch went. Maybe I’d better rethink that whole idea about her being an intelligent human being.

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.