Donald Trump — a loser once again — is finally held accountable | Opinion

For the first time in his life, Donald Trump has been held accountable.

Predictably, after he was found guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal to undermine an election, the former president spouted the same tired talking points. He claimed the case was rigged, a word he uses every time he loses, like in 2020 and since. He claimed the country was being overrun by undocumented immigrants being let out of prisons. He said the case should have not been tried in Manhattan. He said the judge was “conflicted” and should not have been allowed to try the case, though he was very low energy as spoke outside of the Manhattan courthouse.

In short, he sounded and looked like a loser. Again.

He’s set a couple of presidential records that won’t ever be broken. He’s the first president to be impeached twice, and the first former president found guilty of felonies in a criminal court.

Those are fitting honors for a man as corrupt as Trump. He may have tens of millions of followers who will stick with him no matter what, he won’t be able to erase those stains from his legacy. There is nothing his followers can do about that. I don’t know what’s going to happen in November or in the other more serious criminal cases likely won’t play out before the election. I don’t even know what sentence the judge will hand down. A scheduling hearing is scheduled for July 11, only days before the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is expected to become the GOP’s official nominee.

But I know Trump has finally been held to account, for something.

He’s spent a life doing illegal and immoral things and running businesses into the ground while maintaining wealth and power, if only the illusion. That illusion was forever punctured at about 5 p.m. Eastern time on May 30, 2024 at the hands of 12 men and women in downtown New York – where Trump made his name, no less – who seemed to have little trouble finding him guilty. They deliberated for maybe a dozen hours, which feels like lightning speed given how complex legal analysts kept telling us such as case was.

It meant that the jury decided not to fall for the subterfuge from Trump and his lawyers. No one really believed Trump didn’t have an illicit affair with a porn actress or that his top attorney, Michael Cohen, committed crimes related to the case all on his own without the awareness or direction of “The Boss.” The jury decided to say that the emperor didn’t have new clothes, but was just a naked man trying to get away with obvious crimes he had long been able to commit with little or no recourse.

It’s a good day for the country. If nothing else, it shows no man is above the law, that it’s not just an empty slogan. (Well, there is the behavior of a certain Supreme Court justice we need to grapple with.)

Maybe Trump will avoid prison time. Maybe he will only receive probation. The judge has more than a month to consider the appropriate punishment. For the record: I’m not a big fan of long-hard sentences for anyone who don’t commit ugly-violent acts. I maintain that stance even for Trump. And we should be careful with how we talk about “convicted felons,” to not inadvertently dehumanize millions of Americans because of glee about Trump’s convictions.

I don’t believe he should be president. Though I believed that before this verdict, I believe all Americans should now consider what it would mean to make a man convicted of crimes like these president. We would be more of a laughingstock around the world than we’ve already become.

Trump doesn’t have to go to prison to be fully punished. But we should not punish ourselves be sending him back to the White House.

Issac Bailey is a McClatchy opinion writer based in South Carolina.