• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 15 comments on Where Does Trump’s Case Fall against Past Presidential Scandals Involving Sex, Power, Profit?

  1. It’s a bit bemusing to see this sudden concern for the leaking of classified documents. Where was the outrage over the Snowden or Manning leaks? Wikileaks? The Dobbs leak? The Pentagon papers?

    How do the New York Times and Washington Post get all their classified leaks?

    Will Prof. Whalen categorically condemn all leaks of classified information?

    1. Ari trachtenberg. It’s a bit bemusing that you picked three cases that have involved a trial waiting sentencing, a trial verdict resulting in a prison sentence, and a self exile before an arrest. I think criminal trials are literally the definition of showing a tremendous amount of concern The mention of the Dobbs leak? I think both the right and the left want to see a thorough investigation as both sides have a valid argument that is was the other side. The sham investigation run by John Roberts did even question the justices….because we all know they are totally ethical and would never ever do anything that violated norms, ethics, or the actual law.

  2. According to Thomas Walen, former president Donald Trump should be held responsible for decline in American political culture. I guess that’s why we have the incompetent and corrupt Biden administration. Trump is “stealing moves from the Benito Mussolini handbook on fascism”? Just why should Thomas Walen have any credibility after making that statement?

    1. incompetent and corrupt biden adminstration? you mean the arguably the most successful first term of any modern day president? seriously? you know they do keep track of Bills passed? Its not like the is an opinion on whether an adminstration is competent when it comes to legislative victories. as for coruption the Hunter laptop has been around for three years, Gym Jordan has had 6 months to hold hearings and still nothing. not a whiff of corruption on this guy. he doesn’t wear a tan suit or fist bump his wife. Thomas Walen only got one thing wrong, he said history will written by the victors. Trump can win another election and history will still be very unkind to him and the people who made excuses for him.

  3. Imagine if Hillary or Obama did what Trump did, right wingers would spontaneously combust.

    Instead, they can’t bring themselves to hold Trump accountable for anything, because they put party over country.

  4. It’s amusing to read the weasel-word justifications for Trump coming out of the Republican Party leaders and much of Trump’s “base”. The same party was apoplectic over Clinton’s having sex with an intern in the Oval Office and yet they downplay the gravity of what Trump did.

    With all those sensitive materials stashed in such a haphazard way at Mar-a-Lago, who’s to say that they have not already been accessed by foreign intelligence sources? South Florida is crawling with Cuban intelligence operatives (because that’s where continuing terrorist attacks against Cuba are hatched), so who’s to say that the nice “Cuban exile” cleaning lady who has a key to the bathroom where some documents were stored hasn’t photographed a bunch with her smartphone?

    And let’s not forget that Trump is primarily a businessman. His presidency continued to function as part of his business empire (or “empire”–we still don’t know exactly how much of it he actually owns). Who’s to say that he wasn’t planning to sell access to them? He’s recorded as saying he wanted to “show” some of them to somebody. Who’s that somebody?

    And kudos to Professor Whalen for making the Mussolini comparison. The fascist dimension of the Trump phenomenon is becoming more and more evident. Beyond the jutting out of his jaw in mimicry of Benito’s favorite pose, there’s the whole fanatical devotion of his so-called “base”, which really and truly doesn’t care what he does, even if it’s patently illegal, because he is perceived as the savior of (largely white) America. And it’s quite happy with the prospect of maintaining Trump in power through violence (check out the video’s of the January 6th insurrection).

    Nobody in the early 20th century could have imagined that two countries which were considered pillars of European civilization–Germany and Italy–would ever take the path that led to WW II and the Holocaust. Who, in turn, knows where the Trump phenomenon will lead? Let’s not forget that our bloodiest war was precisely our Civil War. There are way more guns per capita in this country today than there were in the middle of the 19th century. Public figures associated with the Trump phenomenon (including elected members of the Congress) have no problem in reminding the country how well it’s armed.

    This country has gone through a lot in its history, but this moment is perhaps the most dangerous. Forget “foreign threats” (most of which are bogus, by the way). The biggest threat to our country’s future sits within our own borders.

    1. Maybe to some wealthy academics, high on New York Times, MSNNC, and CNN “the fascist phenomena” rings true. For me who escaped prison communism, (which some here worship but never experienced), Trump is more a people tribune like one of the Gracchi brothers…whom elites and quasi-intellectuals hate and the masses worship.

      Please stop the constant references to the Trump base as predominantly white…it is inaccurate and inappropriate wishful thinking propagated by white college bourgeoises who pretend to care for the poor and immigrants at the same time being part of the system rigged to enjoy a high standard of living at the expanse of the masses. Also, if you consider pre-War War II Germany a pillar of world civilization you should speak to someone in Namibia, Serbia, Poland, or Russia who may enrich your view on the subject by offering insights into that “civilization”.

      I do agree the biggest threat to the country is in our borders. I am convinced the threat comes from a quasi-intellectual with totalitarian tendencies, who never experienced true American working class or immigrant hardship, national pride, and sense of belonging to this country which is still a magnet and beacon of hope to the oppressed from around the world.

    2. Everything that is wrong with the alienated elitist academia approach to Trump is summarized in this post. From inaccurate thesis about European history to subjective conclusions about threats to this country. What amazes me the most is the continuous disdain for this country’s blue-collar working class referred to as (the Trump base). Reading this post is like reading a letter to editors from Komsomolskaya Pravda in Stalinist Soviet Union, where many academics wrote affirming the only one, right pathway for the future. It was an exercise loved by the newspaper censors (!) and propaganda apparatchiks. All while citizens were affected by censorship and terror, and gulags were filling up.

  5. So when Trump stows documents in his bathroom (which, yes, is bad), it’s fascism. Gotta wonder how Thomas Walen felt about Hillary destroying electronic devices with a hammer, the ongoing investigation into Biden’s collusion with the FBI and his son’s business dealings, etc. This interview reads as a tendentious smear piece. I get BU Today probably aren’t the biggest Trumpers (nor am I), but can we even try to maintain some semblance of impartiality? I peruse this site weekly and have yet to see anything even remotely critical of the left. For a journal affiliated with a prestigious university, you’d expect the journalism to be a bit more balanced.

  6. The Espionage Act was created to help Woodrow Wilson, perhaps the most white supremacist president since the civil war, imprison people who objected to America entering World War 1.

  7. Interesting headline since the Trump document case involves no sex scandal like Clinton and Lewinsky; no profit as with the Biden shakedown of at least Ukraine that we know of; and no power motive a la Nixon. The whole premise seems to fall apart from the get-go.

    The author also forgets that half of all US voters in the last election were MAGA voters. Now he (and Bostonia) use the term as an epithet to demean others who don’t hold their correct and approved beliefs.

    Too bad Bostonia can’t provide balanced editorial viewpoints. Will it dare publish an interview with, say, Alan Dershowitz?

    1. Okay Rob, from start to finish:
      1) Sex, financial profit, and power are not the only legally acceptable motives for a crime
      2) Biden shakedown of Ukraine? Did you miss the impeachment of Trump over his shakedown of Ukraine, an actually proven event unlike what you’ve just described?
      3)”Half of all US voters were MAGA voters”. By most polling, MAGA republicans are 30% of the electorate. A republican vote is not the same as a MAGA vote.
      4) You say MAGA is appearing as an epithet, did you read the article? It appears twice, describing a “MAGA-leaning columnist” and “MAGA claims” – something which, since you claim MAGA describes a huge portion of the electorate, you must admit is a reasonable descriptor.
      5) BU Today, surprisingly, speaks to BU faculty. Dershowitz, unlike the interviewed party here, has no affiliation with the school.

  8. I remember Mussolini being asked what the purpose of fascism was, he replied “To revolutionize Socialism”. I don’t see the comparison of him with Trump. Trumps no socialist and I believe Trump left the White House voluntarily. Whalen joins a long list of professors whose credentials are questionable. He now joins that other BU history professor who thought Hitler was elected. I agree with Anonymous that BU Today should attempt to maintain some semblance of impartiality. It only took 3 questions in for Barlow to show his bias and lack of objectivity with his “MAGA-leaning columnist” comment.
    In the indictment it states that there are only about 32 documents that are in question. So the FBI does what it always does- stages photographs to create visual images in people’s minds. They take pictures of dozens of boxes stacked up in places like a bathroom or on a stage in a ballroom and then insinuate that they are stuffed with thousands of classified documents. It doesn’t take dozens of boxes to hold a few documents they probably in all likelihood would fit in one box. They said that boxes were held in a ball room for about two months and then moved. They then moved boxes to the ballroom took pictures to illustrate this point hoping that if people want to think that they were stored that way for a longer time period, all the better. It was the second time they had staged photos, earlier they had laid out on the ground documents with classification stamps on them. They provided no context as to whether or not they had been declassified, All they wanted to show was the classification stamp.

    Last Fall the FBI raided Mar A Lago, prior to that they had visited twice and told the Secret Service to make minor adjustments to security for the documents. So, it appears that the FBI does not think the Secret Service is up to the job of protecting the former president or his papers. Prior to the raid the former president and the National Archives were in discussions over the documents. The idea that Trump stole the documents and packed them up with his own two hands to profit from them is quite ludicrous.
    These endless ridiculous kerfuffle’s over documents have to end, the reality is most of these documents are nothing more than worthless bureaucratic drivel. If you think that our nation’s nuclear codes or plans of attack are just lying out there in the open, I have some Pacific beachfront property in Arizona to sell you.
    In order to keep documents safe Trump should have had his father buy him a corvette then have his son buy him a waterfront mansion with a stand-alone garage equipped with cardboard boxes. Only then could he store records in a safe and secure method approved by both the FBI and the National Archives.

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