Donald Trump is not King of the United States. Truth be told, though, before Monday he had reason to believe he was at least above the law, that is until the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a warrant and searched Mar-a-Lago.
None of the awful things he's done in his adult life has ever led to real accountability before a genteel searching of his Florida home. I say genteel because it's not remotely like what a drug enforcement unit in Horry County did to Julian Betton in Myrtle Beach in 2015. They barged through his front door, lied about having knocked first and riddle his body with bullets, so many that he'll likely never walk again. All because he sold a small amount of marijuana, a drug that is rapidly being legalized throughout the country.
What happened at Trump's place is genteel compared to what Louisville police did to Breonna Taylor. Shortly after midnight March 13, 2020, police used a battering ram to enter her apartment based on bogus information and refused to answer Taylor and her then-boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, asking who was at their front door. Startled, Walker fired a shot, thinking it was a break-in by Taylor's former boyfriend. The police shot into the apartment numerous times, killing Taylor, a medical worker. None of the officers faced real criminal charges until recently when the federal government stepped in.
Ask Anjanette Young if the FBI's non-violent raid of Mar-a-Lago was the kind of trauma Trump loyalists pretend it was. In 2019, Chicago police wrongly raided her home. They had the wrong address. During the raid, she was handcuffed while naked. She remained naked in the middle of her own home in the presence of a gaggle of male police officers even after the officers determined they were in the wrong house and knew the social worker had done nothing wrong.
Trump apologists can cry me a river about police overreach and aggressive tactics, particularly because many of them have had no problem when law enforcement invaded the homes of people they don't like. They are quick to say that those on the wrong end of a cop's gun must have done something to have deserved such treatment. They back the blue and severe criminal penalties and consequences when the system is used against their political and cultural enemies, most often black and brown Americans. But they scream bloody murder when the FBI follows protocol, attains a warrant and executes it without putting a gun in anyone's face or filling their bodies with hot lead.
But it's deeper than that. This is a question of whether we really believe every American - including presidents - is subject to the law. We don't yet have enough information to determine if the FBI's search of Trump's home was warranted. I won't take the FBI at its word. It has abused its power far too often to believe it is above wrongdoing. The FBI must prove, with clear and convincing evidence, it needed to raid Trump's home. None of us should accept less than the highest standards of proof.
That doesn't mean we should follow Republicans and their hysterical claims about witch hunts and political persecution. We've watched Trump openly flaunt the law since he was president. We've seen major news outlets document what amounts to clear evidence of tax fraud in the Trump family. We know Robert Mueller detailed numerous reasons why Trump should have been indicted in the Russia probe, if not for the informal Department of Justice policy of not charging sitting presidents. Trump is many things; innocent isn't one of them.
In this case, the burden of proof lies with the FBI. They must prove this move was warranted. That the search is unprecedented says little about the merits but much about an ugly American tradition. We are quick to harshly punish the powerless no matter how innocent, slow to hold to account the powerful no matter their guilt. Monday maybe the beginning of the end of that convention
Issac Bailey is a McClatchy Opinion writer based in Myrtle Beach, SC