August 14, 2022

ROGER KIMBALL: David Brooks is very worried the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago helps Trump.

It’s things like pursuing policies that make America energy-independent, enforcing immigration laws so successfully that illegal immigration is slowed to a trickle. It’s pursuing economic policies—slashing taxes, sharply reducing regulations that are merely burdensome—that lead to the lowest unemployment rates in decades or in history for minority workers, who also saw real wages rise at their quickest rate ever. It’s defanging “corrupt,” “malevolent,” “partisan” diktats like Title IX rules in colleges and “woke” ideology in the military. It’s insisting that our NATO allies act like allies and pay their agreed-upon fees to support the organization. It’s also making symbolic gestures like moving our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem where it belongs, and formulating the Abraham Accords, a world-historical foreign policy achievement in the Middle East.

I could go on. But I don’t want to stand in the way of David Brooks’ main point, which is to lament that Trump’s narrative, such as it is, has suddenly been goosed by the FBI, which, acting on a wide-ranging warrant that Merrick Garland personally approved, raided Mar-a-Lago, rummaged through Melania’s personal wardrobe, and carted off some 11 boxes of documents that have been variously described as classified presidential documents (just think of Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 emails, some of Barack Obama’s papers, etc.) and “nuclear secrets.” (One wag wondered whether there was a video of Trump peeing on nuclear codes with Russian prostitutes, but that probably came from Christopher Steele.)

The entire episode has put David Brooks in a bind. On the one hand, he would love to see Donald Trump taken away in handcuffs and indicted. On the other, the FBI’s actions have galvanized conservative, and even Republican, support for Trump. It has also got people thinking that America’s premier law enforcement agency is, well, “corrupt,” “malevolent,” “partisan,” and “acting in bad faith.”

Overnight, support for Trump, already strong, surged. Brooks quoted a reporter for Politico: The FBI’s action “completely handed him a lifeline,” he said. “It put everybody in the wagon for Trump again. It’s just taken the wind out of everybody’s sails.” Imagine that. Organize a “corrupt,” “malevolent,” “partisan,” and “acting in bad faith” raid by the secret police against a political opponent and people don’t like it! What is the world coming to?

Why, it’s as if: David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

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