Legendary Chicago gangster Al Capone was directly and indirectly involved in numerous murders. Notably however, he was never found guilty of these crimes, such as the killings that took place during the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Instead it was income tax evasion which earned Scarface an 11-year sentence in federal prison, and formally ended his control of the Windy City underworld.
And rather than the retaliatory hail of mob bullets that might have been expected, it was complications arising from an advanced case of syphilis that ended Capone’s life in 1947. For all his formidable credentials as the toughest of tough guys during the Prohibition era, Capone last days were filled with illness, pain and confusion, disease having left him with the mentality of a 12-year-old child.
It’s almost enough to make one feel pity. Almost, but not quite. Consider this rendering of Capone’s character by writer Elizabeth Nix of the History Channel:
“By some estimates, his crime syndicate pulled in around $100 million a year, the largest portion from bootlegging, followed by gambling, prostitution, racketeering and other illicit activities. A flashy dresser who liked chatting with reporters and became an international celebrity, Capone didn’t apologize for the way he made his living. He claimed to be doing a ‘public service’ for Chicagoans, stating: ‘Ninety percent of the people of Cook County drink and gamble and my offense has been to furnish them with those amusements.’”
This description sounds an awful lot like someone who currently occupies the White House. Who am I thinking of? Let me see…do I know anyone who has run roughshod over the emoluments clause, enriching his family and business interests on taxpayer time and dime, while publicly demanding gratitude for the privilege? Are there any current American leaders who are allergic to public apology and have made a gaudy fortune off of unseemly – and quite possibly illegal – business deals? And that bit about cozying up to reporters and demanding full domination of the news cycle? Sure rings a bell.
Donald Trump’s January 2018 presidential physical exam at Walter Reed did not reveal evidence of venereal disease, and with advances in 21st Century medicine, syphilis seems a rather unlikely cause of death for the Orange One. And although there’s every reason for the country to be concerned about 45’s cognitive health, given his rash temper, foolish judgment, illogical grasp of rhetoric and tendency to lie his face off, at least officially, Trump was deemed in “excellent” mental and physical condition. In the absence of opposing testimony, we have to assume that Dr. Ronny Jackson, who also served as the resident doc under President Obama, is reporting his findings accurately.
But let’s talk legalities. We’ll find plenty of similarities between Capone and Trump there. As of August 28, 2017, President Donald Trump had been sued more than 100 times in federal court since his inauguration. And as a private citizen, The Donald is and was a defendant in more than 3,500 separate cases of litigation. Writer Caroline Halleman of Town & Country said this of the perpetually served POTUS:
“While it’s not uncommon for a president to accumulate some lawsuits over the course of his administration, what is happening now is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history.”
Let’s be real though. Out of personal mendacity and sheer, repetitive volume, Donald Trump is obviously not afraid to go to court. A goodfella moves through the world with confident impunity. He has screwed over numerous contractors to the tune of millions of dollars while building his gold-plated real estate empire. Trump has defrauded investors and students, and deceived members of his own family. He has publicly disparaged Gold Star families, Senators currently dying of brain cancer and any number of real or imagined opponents. He has said, awful, barely repeatable things about women, famous and otherwise, demonstrating that the opposite sex is his preferred target for vulgarity and disrespect. Donald Trump – and the cheeseburger he reportedly takes to bed – lose sleep over none of this.
But there’s one woman, a singular litigant, who’s demonstrating a weird, unsettling power over Donald Trump that none of us fully understands yet. I speak of course of Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. She and her lawyer Michael Avenetti are giving Team Trump the full court media press over her alleged affair with POTUS 45 – and confirmed $130,000 payout. And what has Trump said of the unfolding scandal – and the lady who has him by the literal balls? Nada. Nary a tweetstorm or press conference tangent. Things that make you go hmmmm…
Writers such as BBC News’ Toby Luckhurst have a theory:
“The allegations surfaced at a tricky time for White House officials, and don’t appear to be going away…The last thing the White House needs is another scandal to respond to.
It’s also raised the spectre of a former president.
Remember that Bill Clinton faced impeachment proceedings after lying about his affair with staffer Monica Lewinsky.”
Given the speed with which Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s conspiracy cover story is unraveling, it makes one wonder if Robert Mueller might have to settle for second in the Trump indictment race. There’s so much about this idea that is bursting with schadenfreude flavor, including the association with the Clintons. I want Donald Trump to have to think of Hillary Clinton every single day of his own painful and confused elder years – and there’s no Bill without Hill.
Go get ‘em Stormy.