“Lock her up,” they chanted from the floor of the GOP convention.
Rudy Giuliani said there was enough evidence for a racketeering case against the Clintons.
“Hillary for Prison,” the T-shirts read.
All along, it struck some Republicans and Democrats that only in authoritarian countries do they jail the opposition leaders after seizing power. Yet Donald Trump told a rally in Florida in October: “She gets a subpoena, she deleted the emails, she has to go to jail.”
During a debate, he told Clinton for all to see: “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.”
Then he won the election — and began backing off.
His spokeswoman and former campaign chief, Kellyanne Conway, said Tuesday on television: “I think when the president-elect, who’s also the head of your party, tells you before he’s even inaugurated that he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content.”
“Look, I think he’s thinking of many different things as he prepares to become the president of the United States, and things that sound like the campaign are not among them,” she added.
Read that again.
Things that sound like the campaign.
Judicial Watch, the conservative group that used the tools of open-government laws to pry loose a morass of emails from Clinton’s time at the State Department, wasn’t ready to go along with whatever Trump deemed expedient.
“If Mr. Trump’s appointees continue the Obama administration’s politicized spiking of a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton,” the group warned in a statement, “it would be a betrayal of his promise to the American people to drain the swamp of out-of-control corruption in Washington, D.C.”
Trump can still change his mind. Either way, the probe isn’t his only promise to prove less than hard-and-fast.
The big border-wall plan almost immediately started to mean “there could be some fencing.” The Muslim ban “evolved” into vetting immigrants from some areas, not unlike post-9/11.
He pledged during the campaign to repeal Obamacare, but after the election, he suggested he could keep its most popular features.
Trump’s ascent seems to have shifted other parts of his worldview as well.
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive,” he said in 2012.
On Tuesday he said he’d “keep an open mind” on whether to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. Asked if thought human activity could be tied to climate change, he said: “I think there is some connectivity. Some, something. It depends on how much.”
On several occasions during the campaign he indicated he would put his business interests in a blind trust if elected. To be fair, he was never specific about how he’d avoid using his office to make more money, if that was his intent.
But on Tuesday Trump told The New York Times: “The law’s totally on my side. The president can’t have conflicts of interest.”
Surely a president can have conflicts between what he says now and later — and between what he does now and later.