It’s hard to remember a time when there was a politician arguably more corrupt than the current president, but that time was 2008, and the man was former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
For those who don’t remember, Blagojevich was such a pariah in office that he was being investigated months after replacing George Ryan in 2003.
“Blagojevich found his administration at the early stages of what became a host of state and federal investigations into allegations of wrongdoing involving state hiring, board appointments, contracting and fundraising that battered his tenure,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
But Blagojevich went from local albatross to national embarrassment when F.B.I agents busted into Blagojevich’s home and arrested him “on a broad array of corruption charges, including asking for favors in exchange for his selection of a replacement in the Senate for President-elect Barack Obama,” the Tribune reports.
While waiting for his trial to begin, Blagojevich made appearances on Oprah, The Daily Show, and Celebrity Apprentice. Donald Trump claimed the disgraced governor would be one of the show’s breakout stars. Little did Trump know he’d be the one to help him break out.
In 2011, Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison. On Wednesday, the president of people who enjoy The Apprentice noted that he’s considering commuting Blagojevich’s sentence.
“I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One, the Wall Street Journal reports. “And a lot of people thought it was unfair, like a lot of other things,” Trump said, having floated the idea in May 2018. “I think it’s enough, seven years.”
The Wall Street Journal notes that the 62-year-old joke of a politician is about halfway through his sentence after trying to sell the Senate seat left vacant by Barack Obama.
“I’ve got this thing, and it’s fucking golden. I’m just not giving it up for fucking nothing,” Blagojevich was overheard saying on a wiretap. Which totally sounds like something the current president of the United States would say.
And that’s why I believe that, without doubt, Trump is going to commute Blagojevich’s sentence. Because the former governor in a state known for its political corruption is nothing if not a baby Trump. He’s the real Trump Jr. Blagojevich is a conman disguised as a showman disguised as a politician. Who does that sound like?
If nothing else, Trump knows that releasing Blagojevich back into this climate at this time gives him another Rudy Giuliani—another public face who will make an ass of himself if only to save Trump. If freed by Trump, Blagojevich will be indebted to Trump and we know how Trump values loyalty; just ask former FBI Director James Comey about Trump’s mafia-style loyalty bullshit.
Speaking of Comey, the Wall Street Journal points out that during Blagojevich’s arrest, Robert Mueller, the former special counsel who was investigating Russia’s involvement in Trump’s election, was the director of the FBI, and the U.S. attorney who oversaw Blagojevich’s prosecution, Patrick Fitzgerald, was a colleague of James Comey, who succeeded Mueller.
Confused? Basically, in the Basketball Wives analogy of Blagojevich, Trump is Jackie Christie and he doesn’t fuck with the rest of them.
Trump doesn’t believe that, in dealing with that crew, Blagojevich got a fair shake.
“It was the same gang, the Comey gang and all these sleazebags, that did it,” Trump told the WSJ.
Isn’t it just like Trump to try to undo the legacy of those he despises (see: Obama, Barack)?
And who could forget Blagojevich’s most Trumpian quote ever when asked about then-President Obama, during an interview with Esquire in January 2010:
“Everything he’s saying’s on the teleprompter. I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where he lived. I saw it all growing up.”
Yep, Blagojevich is an asshole, a Trump-level asshole, and who better to release an asshole from prison than an asshole on his way there?