Two days after apologizing to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh “on behalf of our nation” for subjecting him to one Senate hearing and a brief FBI probe into several sexual assault allegations against him before allowing him to be confirmed to his lifetime appointment, President Donald Trump clearly dropped the pretense of defending “due process” as he laughed along as audience members chanted “Lock her up!” after he criticized Sen. Dianne Feinstein in Iowa on Tuesday night.
At Trump’s suggestion during a campaign-style rally in Council Bluffs that Feinstein leaked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s letter regarding her allegations to the press, the audience erupted in the chant as the president smirked and seemed to enjoy the moment.
Among Trump’s supporters, the rallying cry that was directed at Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election now appears to apply to any woman who opposes Trump or stands in the way of his agenda. An audience in Mississippi chanted, “Lock her up” last week after Trump mocked Ford.
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As critics noted on social media, the demand for Feinstein to be “locked up” was in stark contrast to Trump’s attacks on Democrats and Kavanaugh critics who called for the judge to step aside after Ford and two other women came forward with claims that he had committed sexual assault.
As thousands of people protested on Capitol Hill and at Senate offices across the country, demanding their senators vote against Kavanaugh, Trump claimed the opposition to the judge denoted a “very scary time” in the U.S. for young men, who could be accused “of something you may not be guilty of.”
“Due process, fairness, and common sense are now on trial!” Trump tweeted last week.
The president’s concern over due process appears to extend only to white men hoping to rise in the ranks of government or business, critics have noted in recent days. Trump has previously declared people guilty of a crime and called for their punishment—notably after the Central Park Five were falsely accused of rape in 1989. The president, then a private citizen, took out ads in four New York City newspapers calling for the men’s execution—and has insisted they were guilty even following their exoneration in 2014.