President Joe Biden may be staying quiet on his predecessor’s arraignment Tuesday, but the types of people who took to the streets in January 2017 to protest President Donald Trump are finally getting what they’ve desperately wanted: an arrest.
“After years of getting ‘lock her up’ yelled at us, I plan to spend the day the same way I assume my old boss and campaign buddies will — enjoying the freedom that generally comes with not committing crimes,” said Jess McIntosh, a Democratic strategist who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, when Trump supporters frequently called for the Democratic nominee to be imprisoned.
Officially, the Democratic Party is taking a subdued or even somber tone on Trump’s indictment. Biden and the White House have largely ignored it. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of Trump's most famous antagonists, lamented last Friday on MSNBC that the first indictment of an ex-president in U.S. history was a "tragic" but "necessary" step.
“Yes, we should celebrate the fact that America has a rule of law, but I've represented defendants going into this thing and it's horrific. There's a human element here that shouldn't be lost," said Neal Katyal, who was acting solicitor general during Barack Obama’s presidency.
"This is not a time to further divide," Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., told a local TV outlet, adding that this "sad day ... is not a time to celebrate."
Democrats are trying to avoid further politicizing an already fraught legal case and let Trump soak up the harsh glare of the media spotlight.
But many progressives can't contain their glee.
"Nice capstone to the best day I’ve had in 7+ years," tweeted Democratic strategist Rachel Bitecofer, along with a photo of a rainbow.
After being disappointed by earlier efforts to hold Trump accountable for the myriad crimes his critics and detractors are sure he committed, those same people are excited to see him face criminal charges for the first time in a long public career that has had plenty of legal challenges, but none that came with a risk of prison time.
On social media and in group chats, liberals gloated and wished each other a “Merry Arrestmas." They shared memes about Stormy Daniels and gold-plated Trump-brand handcuffs, instructions on performing Trump’s dance moves to celebrate, and drink recipes to wash it down, such as a “lock him up lager” and a white Russian “beneath a thin orange skin and fake gold leaf garnish.”
An artist sold prints of an oil painting of a dozen middle fingers pointed at Trump Tower titled, “Arrestmas in NY.” A liberal group sold “convict 45” and “indictment se45on” shirts, referring to Trump’s status as the 45th president.
Former Trump aide says 'the next couple days will hurt' for himApril 4, 202302:29
“Finally the man is being held accountable,” tweeted Ed Krassenstein, one of the twin brothers who skyrocketed to “resistance” fame by replying to Trump’s tweets, before being banned from the platform for allegedly operating fake accounts, then let back on by new owner Elon Musk. “His hair looks extra bleached blonde today.”
Others lionized Bragg in memes, much the same way they portrayed special counsel Robert Mueller before ultimately being disappointed by the outcome of his investigation into potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“Trump finally got indicted!” tweeted Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., dubbed the “Queen of the Resistance” for her early and aggressive advocacy for Trump’s impeachment. “I predicted he would and I predicted that Stormy Daniels would get him! Sometimes justice works!”
There were few watch parties or organized in-person gatherings that accompanied major Trump-focused congressional hearings in the pre-Covid era. But some left-leaning podcasts hosted virtual watch parties where hosts and listeners basked in their collective schadenfreude while discussing the even bigger cases they hope are coming down the pike for Trump.
The former president’s estranged niece, Mary Trump, a psychotherapist who has written a critical book about her uncle’s psychology, called the indictment “awesome.”
“A lot of people have asked me how I’m feeling today,” Mary Trump said on Twitter. “Right now all I can say is that I’m focused on how f------ awesome it is that the first accountability domino is about to fall! #HappyIndictmentDay!”
NAACP President Derrick Johnson told NBC News that people excited to see Trump in legal trouble should be careful not to politicize the case or judge the former president before a trial.
“The worst thing in the world we could do in this moment is to politicize a legal matter,” Johnson said.
“People who are celebrating probably are celebrating the fact that he is not being treated differently, that he is not above the law, and that we have a system in place for people who have committed crime," Johnson said. "But at the same time, we also have a system where you are innocent until proven guilty.”