Editorial: Trump's special treatment in Florida is a privilege other felons don't get

The Miami Herald Editorial Board, The Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

The national political soap opera continues as former President Donald Trump prepares for his July 11 sentencing in the hush money criminal case. As expected, Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to play the top supporting role by vowing to restore Trump’s voting rights as a felon so he can cast a ballot in Florida’s November elections.

Oh, the drama.

Donald Trump laments: Rigged trial. Treated unfairly by the prosecutor and a “compromised” judge. Yet he was given a unanimous spanking by a jury of his peers, including those who said during jury selection that they get their news from Fox News or social media outlets that lean right. Corroborated facts and a paper trail led to a conviction on all counts involving an intricate web of creative bookkeeping to cover up pay offs to keep a porn star, among others, quiet just weeks before the 2016 election.

He cries out fake news! And he should know, because for years Trump had been playing the New York tabloid media, and during the 2016 presidential campaign, plying them with fake stories about his political enemies that the National Enquirer was all too willing to publish.

He plays the most blasphemous victimhood card: Persecuted more than Jesus Christ, he claims. God help us all.

He plays the race card: Trump proceeds to claim that Black men in particular can relate to how unfairly he’s being treated by the courts.

He threatens: Retribution for the “Biden crime family” despite the fact that his beef is with the New York state court system, not the U.S. Justice Department.

He maligns: Casts the FBI into the Deep State conspiracy pile and even brings back the specter of a former first lady, senator and secretary of state being imprisoned for who knows what crime if he becomes president.


And there, maligning the rule of law and embracing Drama King Trump is most every high-level Republican throughout the nation fearful of calling a convicted felon a felon. Leading the charge is DeSantis, who has vowed that Trump’s felony conviction on 34 counts in New York won’t affect the king’s good standing when it comes time to vote for president.

Never mind that Trump still faces trials for hiding classified and top-secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago compound in Palm Beach, his role in the “it’s going to be wild” riots at the Capitol in 2021 and his harassment of elections officials in Georgia to get some 1,000-plus votes switched to him. And let’s not forget that failed fake electors’ scheme now being adjudicated against Trump’s minions in various states where GOP officials tried to cheat voters with false documents to hand Trump a win.

DeSantis plans to get the Florida Clemency Board to restore Trump’s right to vote in the Sunshine State, irrespective of any court rulings in other states. “The bottom line is that Donald Trump’s vote this November will be one of millions that demonstrate Florida is now a solid Republican state!” DeSantis posted on X.

In 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for felons (not those convicted of violent crimes or sex offenses), but since DeSantis took office, he has been slow-walking any progress.

The line of Black and Hispanic people waiting to get their voting rights restored is miles long, despite the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition doing its best to streamline the process. Yes, the clemency board has broad authority to restore rights. The challenge under DeSantis has been when people of color try to get their voting rights restored and face barriers.

DeSantis should apply the same rules he plans to use to help felonious Trump to all the people who qualify under the constitutional amendment that voters approved six long years ago. That would be equal justice.


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