In dismissing conviction, Idaho Republicans officially become Donald Trump Party | Opinion

It’s official, if anyone still had any doubts.

There is no Republican Party in Idaho, with adherence to classic principles of conservatism and any general notion of decency.

There is only the Donald Trump Party, full of sycophants to a megalomaniac. People who 10 years ago had GOP governance on their minds — which they sometimes used to think for themselves — now have only fealty to Trump as their No. 1 objective.

Trump was found guilty last week on all 34 counts with which he was charged in New York in a hush-money case.

The criminal justice system worked.

A jury of 12 citizens convicted him for falsifying business records. That came after a grand jury — also made up of citizens — indicted him.

None of those panels included Joe Biden or Kamala Harris, Democratic politicians or Department of Justice members, just everyday New Yorkers doing their civic duty.

The verdict was the result of the U.S. justice system simply operating as it is supposed to. This is the same system that Republicans laud when it works for them, and they immediately forget all those times they’ve bragged about the importance of “the rule of law” and how they belong to the party of “law and order.”

(The Capitol riot of Jan. 6 on behalf of Trump dispelled forever the idea that the GOP values law and order.)

But just as Donald Trump’s sycophants have gone along with Trump’s tearing down of one democratic institution — our elections — they now go along with tearing down another one: our justice system.

It’s sad that those we at one time considered respectable, reasonable, intelligent people, leaders of the Idaho Republican Party — Idaho Gov. Brad Little, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson — have caved to the Trump cult.

Frankly, the reaction of these Republican politicians and leaders is nothing short of embarrassing and disgraceful — while also being predictable.

Little posted on social media that the “American people will deliver the only verdict that matters in November.”

That’s right, Idaho’s sitting governor proclaimed that felony convictions and the law don’t matter.

Simpson and Crapo trotted out the right-wing talking points of a “weaponized” judicial system and a “politically motivated” case.

Mind you, in the good old days of a reasonable Republican Party, both Crapo and Simpson opposed Trump, recognizing his coarse, toxic brand of politics.

Crapo’s statement that the case could open “the floodgates of possible prosecution based on an individual’s mere existence” was ridiculous. Nowhere in the indictment did we see a felony charge of “existence.”

As for U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, as a former prosecuting attorney, he surely must appreciate and honor our legal system, trial by jury, the courts and those who sit on the bench, right? Wrong. He appreciates the opportunity to bow to Trump.

“As a former prosecutor, I learned early the importance of our constitutional right to the due process of law. Due process is simply basic fairness. ... New York’s mock trial did not attempt even an appearance of fairness.”

No mention of the jury, which deliberated and decided the case.

Trump did receive due process.

For a former prosecutor to suggest that Trump didn’t and then compare the United States justice system to “third world countries” just illustrates that these statements are politically motivated, that Risch is afraid of drawing the ire of the cultists who now blindly follow Trump, the man who once said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and his followers would still support him.


At this point, Idaho’s Republican leaders are just defenders of an indefensible man, willing to declare that respect for a trial’s outcome and the U.S justice system is optional.

Jury verdicts in criminal trials? Those don’t matter.

The Donald Trump Party has spoken.

Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion of the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board. Board members are opinion editor Scott McIntosh, opinion writer Bryan Clark, editor Chadd Cripe and newsroom editors Dana Oland and Jim Keyser.