How 'Lock Her Up' Became 'Lock Him Up'

Illustration for article titled How Lock Her Up Became Lock Him Up
Photo: Mandel Ngan (Getty Images)

Trump supporters at a Sunday night rally burst into chants of “lock him up” after the president accused opponent Joe Biden of meddling in Ukraine on behalf of his son Hunter.

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“They’re corrupt people,” Trump said at the Nevada rally, to cheers from the crowd. “Joe Biden is from a failed and corrupt political class.”

Trump has repeatedly distorted the facts around Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and the former vice president’s involvement in them. Throughout the 2020 race, Trump and Republicans have falsely claimed that Biden threatened to withhold “billions of dollars” in aid to the country unless it removed the official who was “prosecuting” the youngest Biden son, though there’s nothing to suggest that Hunter was under investigation to begin with.

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Though these statements have been found to be false time and again, they gained more traction this past week, when the New York Post published a series of stories about Hunter Biden, claiming that Rudy Giuliani had given the paper a “copy” of his hard drive, which supposedly included some of Hunter Biden’s emails. The veracity of the reporting and the sourcing it relied on were called into question by Post staff, as well as by major national outlets like the New York Times and CNN, neither of which could independently verify its contents.

In other words, the narrative isn’t sticking the way Trump would like it to. But with mere weeks until the election, and Trump far behind in the polls, the president and his acolytes are grasping for anything that has the same ring to it as “Hillary’s emails.”

With few strategies left for Trump to employ—and a pandemic mounting its third wave in the United States—the president and his supporters are resorting to the old 2016 playbook, playing on the same insults and attacks they deployed four years ago (and ever since).

Like a game of Mad Libs, they best they can do is substitute “Biden” for “Hillary” and hope voters fill in the rest.

Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at Vice, The Nation, Gothamist, The Awl, and more.

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DISCUSSION

The irony is, if Herr Flaxencoif fails to get reelected he will be the one that is likely to be locked up.