“The things we do for Orange Jesus”, Republican Congressman Mark Green lamented as he signed his objection to Joe Biden’s electoral votes. Trump had lost the 2020 election but couldn’t and wouldn’t accept it. He coerced his party to mount a campaign to thwart the Electoral College vote count. His party knew his claims of victory were false, yet they continued to back Trump’s lies and play along with his devious attempts to thwart the transition.
Congressman Green voiced the concerns of many – Trump had turned his party into a sect loyal only to him, the erratic, unhinged cult figure Orange Jesus.
Republicans were obliged to deny the truth, propagate Trump’s big lie and defend his indefensible abominations with religious fervour. Some, like Green, complied grudgingly. Many others followed with such blind passion that they’re now serving years in jail for their part in the 6th January insurrection.
One, Ashli Babbit, lost her life when she was shot dead by a Capitol police officer as she attempted to gain access to the Speaker’s lobby.
But none of Trump’s obscene transgressions have cost him support. On the contrary, his poll ratings rise with each new indictment.
His popularity didn’t suffer when he bragged of assaulting women, lied repeatedly and blatantly, or was found liable for sexual abuse and fraud. He retains an unassailable lead in the Republican nomination for President and his utter domination of his party is such that he doesn’t even bother attending presidential debates.
Even as he faces the risk of conviction and imprisonment, Trump enjoys divine status and the admiration of millions of supporters – a veritable Orange Jesus.
Malta has its own Orange Jesus. He also faces the real risk of prosecution and conviction but retains a religious following amongst most Labour voters.
Over two years after his disgraceful fall from power, over one-third of Labour voters (36.3%) prefer Joseph Muscat as party leader. Just before the last general election, a vast Labour majority (60%) wanted Muscat to run again.
Amongst Republican voters, an almost identical proportion (63%) want Trump to run again. But that’s not the only thing the two former leaders have in common.
Both are busy attacking the judiciary, pursuing them for alleged crimes.
Trump attacked Fani Willis, the Fulton County District Attorney, as “phoney”. He impugned her record and stated that she “desperately wants to indict me on ridiculous grounds”. He attacked Laetitia James, the New York Attorney General.
Trump even posted personally identifiable information about judges. “There is no way I can get a fair trial with this judge”, Trump moaned.
“I don’t trust the process led by (Magistrate) Vella”, Muscat protested, “How can I trust her impartiality?”
Muscat even accused her of “preventing police from conducting an independent investigation”. “I have no trust in the way the inquiry is being led”, he moaned. He accused her of putting him through a second Egrant, a “political calvary” “to create instability for Labour, the government, to use the delays in the courts to sow political damage.”
He accused the magistrate of leaks. “Magistrate Vella cannot continue leading this inquiry because of the continuous leaks”, he moaned.
“The Justice Department and FBI are leaking at levels never seen before”, Trump cried.
“I did nothing wrong…I know I did nothing wrong”, Muscat echoed.
“I’m the victim of a concerted attack”, Muscat complained, “an attack from the usual suspects” when revelations about his €540,000 contract with Accutor AG and Spring X Media, companies which received money from Vitals. “It’s an absolute lie, this is a frame-up”, he told Maltatoday.
Meanwhile, Trump accused the FBI of offering $1 million to ex-MI6 spy Christopher Steele to “have me framed”. “Lies, lies, lies, total fiction”, Trump declared when two women accused him of sexual assault. A court later found him liable for sexual abuse of E. Jean Carroll.
“This is a politically motivated witch hunt”, Trump commented as he was investigated for mishandling top secret documents. “A politically motivated witch hunt is underway”, Muscat complained when the Court of Appeal found collusion between “senior government officials” and Vitals.
Muscat and Trump share another trait – a vicious, vindictive streak.
“For every blow that we feel you are striking the Labour Party, I will strike you twice, with all my strength, under the belt.”, Muscat warned Peppi Azzopardi before he’d even gained power. “I will see to it that these people get what they deserve”, he threatened the “usual suspects” who exposed the tens of thousands paid into his BOV account from a company linked to Vitals.
“Whoever is manipulating facts will have to pay for his actions”. “If you go after me, I’m coming after you”, came Trump’s warning.
Both know they enjoy massive popular support and wield it like a cudgel. “People love me…everybody loves me”, Trump bragged.
“I still feel the people’s love”, Muscat boasted.
Both disgraced leaders don’t stop exploiting that “love” for their own ends.
As Trump faced prosecution, he called on his supporters to hold “the biggest protests we’ve ever had”. Muscat commented, “I am determined to fight this even if I’m alone – although I’m sure I will not be left on my own”.
Trump and Muscat both face investigations of serious crimes and know conviction will spell the end of them so they’re not lying back and yielding to justice, they’re fighting back with every weapon they have.
Trump’s strategy is to evade justice by securing the Republican nomination and returning to the White House, from where he’ll pardon himself and order the Justice Department to retract all charges against him. He’ll also seek retribution against all his perceived enemies – he promised to be a dictator on “day one”.
Muscat was asked, will you rule out a return to frontline politics? “I do not exclude it if it’s constantly Joseph Muscat, Joseph Muscat, Joseph Muscat – at some point, Joseph Muscat has to reply”, Malta’s Orange Jesus said.
His disciples would fly into ecstasy at their Messiah’s second coming, even though his promised miracles – the Vitals’ new 450-bed Gozo hospital, the refurbished St Luke’s Hospital, a new nursing school, the 4000 American University of Malta students – never materialised.