Former President Donald Trump, facing charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, has claimed total immunity from prosecution, even for actions that are seen as crossing legal boundaries.
In his defense, Trump has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States. He argues that the criminal prosecutions against him are politically motivated.
Trump cites Truman in presidential immunity claim
The trial, set for March 4, is on hold by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan as Trump’s legal team pursues his immunity claims.
At a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump continued to assert his belief in presidential immunity by referencing historical events.
He cited President Harry Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
Trump’s Truman comparison stirs controversy
“Take a look at Harry Truman,” Trump said. “He wouldn’t have done… If you think Hiroshima not exactly a nice act, but it did end the Second World War, probably, right? Nagasaki.”
“He wouldn’t be doing that. He said, ‘I do not want to do that because my opponents will indict me.’ You have to give a president full and total immunity.”
His comments have sparked debate and criticism, considering the scale of the attacks, which resulted in the deaths of over 200,000 people and led to Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945.
Legal expert challenges Trump’s immunity stance
Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu, speaking on CNN, criticized Trump’s argument. “One of the things a lot of us are missing in this rather esoteric discussion of immunity… is there’s no immunity that’s boundless if you’re outside the scope of the immunity,” Wu stated.
He further explained that the defense of ‘just doing one’s job’ is valid only if it falls within the scope of immunity.
Wu expressed skepticism about Trump’s ability to convincingly argue that his actions should not be scrutinized, regardless of their extremity.
Mixed social media responses to Trump’s Truman comparison
Public reactions on social media to Trump’s comparison have been mixed, with some pointing out the differences between Truman’s wartime decisions and Trump’s actions.
One user on X, formerly known as Twitter, noted, “Hiroshima was an action to defend our country… not a crime.”
Another user suggested that if Truman had targeted Washington D.C. instead of Hiroshima, the circumstances would have been more akin to Trump’s situation.
Trump camp defends immunity claims amid controversy
In response to these critiques, Trump’s spokesperson, Steven Cheung, told Newsweek, “Trump is right,” dismissing the criticisms as “wrong.”
Trump’s recent statements and the ensuing legal debates highlight the complex and controversial nature of presidential immunity, especially when it intersects with actions that have significant legal and ethical implications.
This ongoing dialogue reflects the evolving nature of how presidential powers and responsibilities are viewed in the context of American democracy.