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Donald Trump, stop comparing yourself to Nelson Mandela | Not to Get Political But

Former President Donald Trump went on a shocking Truth Social rant on Saturday in which he said it would be a “great honor” to go to jail for violating a gag order in his New York hush money trial.

Trump is facing criminal charges in the New York Supreme Court for allegations that he falsified business records to conceal a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claimed she had an affair with Trump years prior.

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

The gag order prohibits Trump from making public statements about the case’s witnesses, jurors, lawyers, court staff, employees in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and their family members. I list all of those options because that’s how many people the courts are afraid Trump could verbally attack.

“I will gladly become a Modern Day Nelson Mandela — It will be my GREAT HONOR,” Trump wrote in the lengthy Truth Social post. “We have to Save our Country from these Political Operatives masquerading as Prosecutors and Judges, and I am willing to sacrifice my Freedom for that worthy cause.”

Gag order aside, can we talk about the first sentence? It is ridiculous that he would go so far as to compare himself to Nelson Mandela, though not shocking, given his ego. 

Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist who spent 27 years in prison before leading the nation out of apartheid rule as the first Black and democratically-elected president. He was an inspiration and hero who, yes, was fighting criminal charges during his activism — but those charges were made under the corrupt and racially unjust system of apartheid.

The American justice system is systemically unjust in many ways — Black people are incarcerated at nearly five times the rate of white people, according to the American Civil Liberties Union — but in no way is the hush money case against Trump one of them.

This is not the first time the former president has made this claim. He compared himself to Mandela last October at a New Hampshire rally when discussing the criminal cases against him.

“I don’t mind being Nelson Mandela, because I’m doing it for a reason,” Trump said.

What reason? To berate and verbally attack anyone who defies you and their family members? Wow, Donald, you’re such a martyr.

Trump also has referred to other figures who, I can tell you right now, he in no way should be compared to. 

In 2020, Trump commemorated the third anniversary of his inauguration by noting in a Twitter post that it was appropriately also Martin Luther King Jr. Day. His White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said he “agrees with many of the things” King stood for, including “unity and equality,” according to the Independent.

Like Mandela, King was arrested many times while he participated in protests during the civil rights movement, such as sit-ins at lunch counters and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Like Mandela and unlike Trump, his arrests were the result of the corrupt and racially unjust system that he was fighting. 

Trump also compared himself to Jesus, but I’m too exhausted to unpack all of that.

Trump tends to frame himself so closely to great historical activists, martyrs and heroes to hide the fact that he is a slimy, horrible and dangerous man. For him to compare himself to civil rights leaders when he’s on trial for paying hush money to a porn star who he had an affair with is delusional to a legitimately insane degree. 

Mandela and King did not pave the paths they did to grant civil rights to Black people in both South Africa and the United States only for Trump — who supports white supremacists, by the way — to try and self-righteously place himself on a pedestal alongside them.

Many of his followers will fall for his exploits, but we cannot excuse this.

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