Start United States USA — Political The Mar-A-Lago Raid Proves the U.S. Isn’t a Banana Republic

The Mar-A-Lago Raid Proves the U.S. Isn’t a Banana Republic


A bedrock principle is that no one—not even the president, much less the former president—is above the law, and if they commit crimes they must answer for them.
Donald Trump would have you believe that Monday’s surprise FBI raid on his Florida estate was, like so many things he disdains, un-American.
Not much is known about the operation as of this writing. The FBI has not commented, and much of what is public comes from a statement by Trump, a notoriously unreliable source of information. Trump wrote, “My beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” who he said arrived unannounced and broke into a safe.
Reporting from The and The New York Times indicate that the raid appears to be connected to Trump’s removal of records from the White House at the end of his administration, in what critics have said was a clear violation of federal public-records law.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” Trump wrote. “Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before.”
Trump is right that nothing like this has ever happened to a former president of the United States before—he always omits the former, a way of refusing to acknowledge that he lost the 2020 election—but he’s wrong about what it means about the rule of law in the United States.
Trump was always more banana republican than Reagan or Lincoln Republican. Unlike his presidential predecessors, and despite his open disdain for Latin America and Latin Americans, he often styled himself as a sort of caudillo, trying to rule with an iron fist, circumvent the Constitution and legislature, enlist the military into his schemes, and use the power of the state to further his own electoral and personal fortunes.

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